Excuse me for indulging in a little pride. Finished pottery in my studio is usually stored on shelves, organized by item, and stacked tightly to be as space efficient as possible. These are the pots that have already been reserved for my upcoming sale, on tables, and organized by how customers are choosing to put them together. It doesn't look like an inventory monolith today. I can see the pots, as individuals and small groups. As I walked up to these tables this morning, it struck me that my work looks really good! Even when there is this much in one place, it doesn't make my head hurt from over-design or noisiness. I am recalling all of the thought and trial that went into each of these designs. These designs are about concept and function, not noise. And I love how the pieces work together. I am being true to my values. Again, sorry for the pride. This arrangement of the pottery is also making me say to myself "dang, girl, you've been productive!" For those who are waiting to shop the sale when it goes live, don't worry! This is only about one-third of the pots I made for the sale. Lots of nice pots will be in the shop!
The pandemic is partially responsible for these new platter designs. When shutdowns first began, I was watching a lot of Netflix and got hooked on a charming Japanese show called Midnight Diner. The title artwork for this show included pretty patterns that I knew were somehow related to fabric art, but I didn't know much else about them. I tried carving these patterns on some vases earlier this year, and when I posted them to facebook, some of my facebook followers (who are fabric artists) gave me the right term: Sashiko. It is a traditional form of Japanese embroidery that was initially developed to strengthen fabric and make it last longer. Carving these patterns is extremely time consuming! So I tried to develop a method that would be more productive and consistent. I ended up making stencils, cut from roofing felt. The cutting of the stencils was even more time consuming, but now that they're done, hopefully I can use these stencils for a long time.
I embed the stencil into a slab of clay, then brush over them with porcelain slip.
I also needed to make a new styrofoam mold for this 12 inch round platter. (If you are interested in learning this technique, Handbuilding with StyroFoam/Plaster Molds is available in my online pottery school.)
And here's how the finished platters have turned out. (Note: the one on the right is already sold). I am selling them now for an introductory price of $85 each. I'm hoping to sell them for $95 or $100 in the new year.
This next new design is something I've been hoping to develop for several years: a storage jar with a lid that holds a silicone gasket, making the jar airtight. Maybe not 100% airtight, given that the gasket is not being held down with pressure, but it's a lot more airtight than a typical ceramic jar. My intention is for these to be used for loose tea leaves, coffee beans, or spices. I like this design so much that I am keeping one for myself (if you know me, you know that mine is full of coffee beans now). These are being offered now for an introductory price of $48 each.
This last item is not really a new item, just a new variation on an existing form. The 4.5 x 10 inch rectangular trays now come in a "lily of the valley" design, in addition to the existing "cherry blossom" and "ginkgo leaves" designs. They are $38 each. Expect to see lily of the valley carvings on other forms in the coming year.
The holiday sale opens tomorrow, Wednesday December 9, at 12 noon. All of the photos will become visible at 9am, so shoppers have 3 hours to browse and make decisions before the selling begins. The store's URL is https://goodelephantpottery.square.site. Have fun shopping!
Mea Rhee (mee-uh ree),
PMA Craft Show
Good Elephant Pottery's
Holiday Open Studio
Silver Spring, MD
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