Saturday, July 23, 2011


Here are the coleus inspired leaves after glaze firing; they're about four inches long. Leaves are very inspirational for me. I've been using leaves for years as spoon rests, on plates, wall panels, and others as test tiles. On these I was testing how the underglaze colors would be affected by this new iron rich clay I'm using and how the satin clear glaze would fire over the top. I tried to make sure I didn't apply too much or too thick a coat of the clear. It may even be a little thin. I like the leaf on the right the best; the lighter green and the more random application of the color appeals to me. I'm even thinking these colors would look nice on a bowl or a tall vase.

The other day I took a walk down our street early in the morning before the heat hit and happened upon a tree I hadn't seen here before. I was attracted to the tree because of the bright red berries, with a few turning black, and I was unfamiliar with it. The tree stood facing the East and was about 30 foot tall, reaching for the sky due to taller trees all around it.

How nice to see something so colorful walking along on a hot and dry summer morning. I wondered about that tree all week long. I asked at a State Park on Honeymoon Island but they couldn't put a name on it either. Then in the back of mind I asked myself what kind of tree would produce drooping fruit this time of year. Then the name of the chokecherry popped into my mind. Sure enough I looked it up and that's just what it is. I've read about and heard the name before, but never saw a specimen in the wild till this one.

Today I'm walking back up the street to examine the bark and see if it looks like the bark of other cherry trees I've seen. Surely that would have been an identifier had I noticed. At the time I was reluctant to walk into the woods even a short distance due to the possibility of snakes and biting bugs, but curiosity may prevail in this case. Oh here it is, the unmistakable identifier of a cherry tree, the horizontal striations in the bark. And here's a better shot of all the berries it produces.

Chokecherry is also used to craft wine in the western United States mainly in the Dakotas and Utah as well as in Manitoba, Canada. But the chokecherry is toxic to horses, moose, cattle, goats, deer, and other animals with segmented stomachs (rumens), especially after the leaves have wilted (such as after a frost or after branches have been broken) because wilting releases cyanide and makes the plant sweet.

As I was walking along this time I saw another plant close to the ground with some beautiful red bronze and gold leaves. Inspiration is every where I look and am so thankful for the wealth of beauty and knowledge to be gained from the natural world around me. Today is my last day for the workshop at Meagan Chaney's; I can't wait to see how all of our work turned out, stay tuned. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. those leaves are very realistic!

  2. yes, chokecherry.
    It was one of my jobs to get rid if these along the fence line when I was a kid. My grandmother said they were deadly for cows and would make them very sick.
    I don't know if that is true but as long as we had cows they came out.
    Mark is letting one grow now near the studio- but no cows.

  3. Those leaves are beautiful! Very interesting about the chokecherry. Have a great weekend!

  4. Hi Michele, thanks, I like how they turned out and overlapping the underglaze and going beyond the lines was rather freeing to me, will have to experiment with this more.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, I do like the red berries, it might be messy near a sidewalk or a house but plants with color are nice. I amaze myself at what learn from my own blog posts while doing research, Ha.

    Hi Marguerite, thanks, yeah I learn something new every day; have a good one.

  5. The leaves are beautifully formed. I particularly like the spoon rest.

  6. Hi Kate, thanks, that leaf was from my gas firing days in a reduction atmosphere which made the glaze have lots of variation in color.


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