February is definitely turning out to be more fun than January. Told you so.
I'm experimenting with coffee scoops. Maree mentioned the idea of a ceramic coffee scoop to me last year. Maybe even the year before. I liked the concept but I thought a long handle was needed, which is totally impractical for functional ceramics. In my efforts to keep working through the cold January days, I returned to drinking coffee (hurray for caffeine!). Whilst sniffing the coffee jar one day I remembered Maree's suggestion and did some research into hand-crafted scoops. Most of the best designs are long handled and made in wood or metal, but a few short handled scoops gave me hope for a clay version. Quick sketches showed that the basic form I wanted was something to throw on the wheel, instead of pinching like my measuring spoons. With a little slab handle attached to each tiny bowl, the forms are most satisfying. I'm eager to get them glazed so I can test them!
This batch of fresh loaghtan sheep went to Manx National Heritage last week. I went through an odd phase last year of disliking these sweet sheep, resenting the repetitive work. My change of heart might be thanks to a break from them, or the warm reception the design has from my customers, but I rather delighted in painting this batch.
Look! Look! ACTUAL sunshine!
Indulging in painting a big (for me) dish, creating a little circular world. This is currently 27cm wide, but it will shrink by at least 2cm in the glaze firing, boo.
Long live the Spring sunshine.
Ah, Hello February, it's marvellous to see you.
January has long been my least favourite month. This year I allowed myself a few indulgences to push through it; slower mornings, short days in the studio to avoid driving in the dark, small batches of throwing, more caffeine (and chocolate). In drafting this post, it was immediately clear that I sound disillusioned, and maybe a bit princess-y. Apologies.
The studio was COLD in January. December had been perfectly pleasant seeing as I was firing the kiln most nights - my kiln heats the building and keeps it dry. But my workload slowed right down after Christmas and I'm down to one or two firings a week. I'd be tempted to take the whole month of January off, but I can't wait for warmer weather to come before I start making again - I could be waiting 'til mid-June.
I don't deal well with the cold. Upon my return home in 2013, the island was half-covered in freak snow drifts, and frozen for weeks. Combined with the despair of leaving the happy (and perpetually warm) life that I'd built for myself on the Gold Coast, the icy temperatures messed with my head. Even three years on, with a hundred things in my world that have changed for the better, if I feel cold for a prolonged period of time my mind rushes straight back to those sad times and rolls about in the misery. Extra socks, a jumper, a blanket, a hot water bottle and a large hot chocolate are the only remedy. Plus hugs, hugs help too.
With the exception of slightly longer days and a smidgen more sunshine, February isn't all that different to January. But it's my birthday month, so by default, it will be more fun. See? Total princess.