Tuesday, February 20, 2007

it's not all about pottery

Yesterday Jim and I celebrated our 30th anniversary. We had considered making a little trip to celebrate because we've enjoyed many wonderful trips together over the last 30 years. But as we analyzed each idea we saw that we really weren't interested in making a trip right now. Jim had just returned from 3 weeks in New York and I am looking forward to a trip to Louisville to attend NCECA next month (a national ceramics convention). In the end we decided just to splurge on dinner at a really swishy restaurant--something we don't do. We had so much trouble trying to make a reservation at our first choice that we gave up on it and booked a restaurant we'd visited before but only when hosted by someone else. In the end, we thought we had chosen the very best restaurant. We ordered the "chef's surprise, a four course meal of just whatever the chef wants to cook this evening". In reality, it was 6 courses with a nice tawny port thrown end at the end of the meal. Each course was an appropriately small serving--just enough to taste how yummy it was! I think my favorite course was the grilled quail served on gnocchi. But the pasta course was also very special. The entree was a delicious "cast iron grilled fillet of beef" and was very good--but not as special as the other favorites. In spite of the modest servings, we were both uncomfortably full as we left the restaurant. It was a real treat!

To get back on theme, I was aware that all the dishes were white with no decoration--no distraction from the artful servings. Some of the plates were squared, some were shallow bowls, most were significantly large. It reminded me of an article I had just read in "Studio Potter" in which the author was a chef's apprentice as well as a potter. The chef he worked with absolutely wanted only white dishes as he felt they best showed off the food he was serving. I'm not sure I totally agree with that. I like the look of colored dishes on a table or buffet. But they do have to be chosen to compliment the colors of the food served--and that might require more dishes on hand than most homes would have storage space for. It is something to consider as I struggle with glazes, colors and decorations on my pottery. I am always happier with the pieces I make just after they are thrown than after they have been glazed. Ben once suggested that I just glaze my pieces with a white glaze. I am beginning to consider doing exactly that.

Today I have mixed up 5 different base glazes to try out on my clay. Then I plan to add colorants to the one or two bases that best fit my clay. Maybe I will also test making white glazes--some glossy, some satin, some matt. Wonder if that would solve my dilemma?

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