Monday, December 7, 2009

What Is It

Open Vase by Linda Starr
handbuilt cassius basaltic clay, 6 x 2 inches

Do you ever sketch something and think to yourself, that's not possible to make. Well that's what I did for this piece. I've been thinking, "How in the heck am I going to get the strips of clay to stand upright and attach the curved piece with only two hands?"

Sketch for Open Vase by Linda Starr

Here's the sketch I did a few months ago but never tried to make the piece till yesterday. I love a challenge so I decided to try it and so far it's holding together. I'm calling it an open vase. What do you think? Have any other good names for it? In my mind I was thinking it would be good for dried flowers. This piece is a little rough around the edges, but now that I know I can make it, I'll make more and perfect the design. I want to make it taller maybe about 12 to 15 inches and flare out the top. I showed it to Gary and he said it could be a toothbrush holder, a match holder, a candle holder, maybe it's just a sculpture.

Casserole Dish by Linda Starr
pinched Texas white clay, 4 x 9 inches

Here are the handles I decided to put on the pinched casserole dish. Rather than a handle over the top I decided the two side handles would let the dish be more useful in the kitchen. The dish is kind of heavy so I curved the handles down so the fingers can get a good grip underneath.

Coil Pot by Linda Starr
flat coiled cassius basaltic clay, 8 x 8 inches

For this vase I used the flat coiled method which I have always wanted to try. After I built the vase I hammered the sides with a metal spoon and held a dry sponge on the inside to support the sides. I also smoothed the sides with the back of a spoon. Once I did all the smoothing, the sides were too flimsy to even move the vase and I wondered how I could smooth out the base.

Luckily I am reading a book by Susan Peterson about traditional Acoma pottery by Lucy M Lewis and I learned how how Lucy Lewis used different sized huditzi to support the bottom of her pots. Think of the huditzi as a curved saucer. Eastern pueblos call the saucers puki. Since I'd like to continue making coiled pots, I'll need to make some huditzi. Lucy Lewis is known for her black on white decorative pots. For my pot I plan on decorating it with white. I am still thinking about the design for this pot.

bottom of hump mold plates by Linda Starr

Here are the hump mold plates I made the other day. Now that they've firmed up a bit I turned them over to see how the insides looked and to gently smooth the edges. I put them back on the molds though as I don't want the sides to droop out flat. Diane of Living River North was asking me if I picture food in functional ware while I'm making it. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, but for these bowls I was thinking they would look good with a salad in them with the edges or rim of the bowl left showing a bit. What about you, do you think about what the food will look like in a pot you are making for the kitchen? Oh check out Diane's blog for some great recipes and she recommended a wonderful book called Pots in the Kitchen by Josie Walters. I may just have to get myself an early Christmas present.

inside of hump mold plates by Linda Starr

Day before yesterday I started to develop a sore throat and a runny nose. I was afraid it would turn into the flu. I took one of the Wellness Formula and today I am much better. I am not a doctor and I don't have stock in this company (but maybe I should) but these herbal pills work wonders. Take one the minute you think you aren't feeling quite right and you will get well much quicker. they are a mega dose of vitamins, garlic and a few herbs to boost your immune system. The small bottle is rather expensive at about one dollar a pill, but I trip to the doctor with the copay or deductible would be much more than the cost of the bottle so I figure it is well worth it.

Normally in California all our rain comes in the winter and we've had a long dry spell. We're supposed to be entering a wet pattern and I am really enjoying the rain today. I guess I'll have bowl of cereal and some orange juice and make some more pots.


  1. Hi Linda,

    It's quite funny how often there is pressure to make sculpture or decorative pots "useful" when they are made out of clay. I have a sculpture here that I made one day that most people seem to have a problem with. It is just a simple pot that I threw, then cut in half vertically. I rejoined it so that both halves are out of alignment and there are gaps so that you can see inside the pot and outside at the same time. I found it interesting to do as it made "art" out of something ordinary. Many people who see it think that I have made a mistake and maybe damaged it! Ah well....

    I like your casserole dish. Nice handles. I've been thinking of making some as they are really useful and very occasionally people have asked if I do them.

  2. Hi Peter, thanks, that is interesting that folks have that reaction to sculpture. Perhaps that's why I titled this post What Is IT unconciously. Sometimes I just have a feeling about making something and I make it. Maybe in my own mind I try to justify it by thinking of what it could be used for. You have made me realize perhaps I need to feel a bit more free and just make whatever comes to mind, not trying to justify it or giving it some type of function. I'm having lots of discussions with Gary about what I am making and he had given me some good pointers. Yesterday he was saying he wants to get a welder and make some things with metal.

    As far as the casserole dish, Gary helped me to think about how the handles should function, thank goodness he was there to advise me. Now I am thinking about making some lids and wondering how I will do this. I need lots of practice and I am running out of room in the RV. I think I will try making some miniature or at least some small pots since the same principles will apply when I make something larger.

  3. Hey, miniatures would be a great idea. I was just thinking as I read your post,that the RV must be getting fuller by the day. tee hee. How nice though that you are having the freedom to just let those creative urges flow. I love the open vase sculpture, it looks good on its own, but if I put it to functional use, I can see my collection of shiny scissors,or my fat colored pencils.

  4. Hi Barbara, thanks, what a good idea. It could also be an artist's brush holder or a potter's brush holder. I'm feeling under the weather, perhaps my wellness formula isn't working out as well as I had hoped. Oh well I guess I can't feel perfectly ok all the time.

  5. Hi Linda, I hope you aren't getting sick. I like the open vase. Something about vertical lines and open spaces speak to me. Pots for the Kitchen is a great book. Take care. r

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  7. Looks like you've been busy despite not feeling well... I hope you're continuing on the mend!

  8. Amazing- you will be able to write your own book on "potting and the open road"

  9. i not only would be thinking how to attach the coil around the outside with only two hands, i'd be wondering how i would get it to dry without it pulling apart at one of the joints. good luck

  10. Hi Ron, thanks, I am hoping to make another one with more space between the uprights, now that I know I can make it. I am ill, not too bad just a cold and cough, could be worse.

    Hi Patricia, thanks, I'm not too ill and I get bored so easily, so I have to do a little something.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, I am wondering if these will dry in time to get them fired here. I hope so. Gary keeps saying to stop, but I just can't help myself. Something will work out.

    Hi Jim, thanks, after I read your comment I went to look at it and it is drying faster than anything else I have made I guess cause air can circulate around it easily even if it is covered. There are a couple of attachments that look kind of scary. Not sure I can get it to take the trip to a kiln, we shall see, but at least it's small and now I know I can make it in a more controlled environment.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment