Sunday, 9 October 2011

7. Family Matters and the Price of Potatoes

Hi potters and friends,
Well, just look what's been happening in our house this month.

Alan's new book called 'The Sum of You' has hit the shops and Amazon! It states on the back - 'Are you a philosopher, an explorer, a gambler, an artist, a scientist, an environmentalist, or are you all of these things? ' He's wanted to write this book for a long time, exploring through story-telling and humour, how we all use and respond to numbers. It's not your conventional book on maths but then he's not your average mathematician. Well done Alan!

And while on family matters, here's something completely different.

Rosie Bill's  Lost and Found Collection.

Our daughter Rosie is a silversmith and she takes fragments of very old pottery, cuts them, files them and sets them in silver.
I sneaked into her workshop the other day and took this photograph before she wrapped everything up and posted it to a gallery. 
But this month she is also very pleased with herself for opening an on-line shop. So you might like to take a look at her website here.  The url for her site is  And well done Rosie!

But what have I been doing this week?  Well, I 'm selling a fair bit of pottery at the AMA Exhibition that I told you about in the previous posting. I'm told by my customers (and not for the first time) that I sell my work too cheap. Maybe, for some items, I do but I love seeing my work going off into people's homes, and seeing people getting pleasure from what my head and my hands have created. But this is a perpetual dilemma for all artists and I guess it always will be. If we realistically charged for our time we would probably price ourselves right out of the market.
So I keep it simple and work it out like this; I let some pieces go a bit cheaper and make up the difference on others. 

But what have I actually been doing this week? Well, here it is.

   In Blog 5. 'Sweet Potato and Cumbrian Stone' I suggested wrapping a potato in clay to make a mould if no plaster was at hand. This is mine - cut open at leather-hard stage and the potato removed, and as you can see by the state of it, now residing in my compost heap. 
I then thought I'd try cutting into the clay so that the pot will have a relief pattern when turned out.

As I started to do this I suddenly had doubts. Not least because the phrase "Less is More" is never at the forefront of my mind. Did I really want these lumps and pimples all over it? But then I realised that if it didn't look good on the pot, I can sand it down before firing, whereby, it will look like they never existed. It's rare that you can rectify a mistake so easily.
So, these will be bisque fired next week when completely dry, and then they will be ready to go. 
I look forward to showing you my entire potato collection when they're glazed, on the shelf and, of course, priced.

Happy potting folks. 

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