It was probably less than 5 years ago when I decided to start selling my pottery. It was exactly four years ago this weekend that I set up my tables and tent for the first time at the Strawberry Festival in Westford. I was reminded of how much Lemonbee has grown since then…thanks to several genuinely sweet and loyal, returning customers. I am so grateful for the support of this community, on that day four years ago when I put myself out there for all to see, and for every year since!
Thanks for loving Lemonbee…
and then I ran out of clay! Pausing at 85. Once I started throwing up to 3 pounds of clay, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to finish with the recycled clay I had left. This will give me time to trim all the bowls hiding under plastic and make room for the last 15 bowls to complete the challenge. I am going to need a lot more clay to finish what I started…
Adding 18 brings the total to 64…maybe I shouldn’t have taken Friday off! 2 more days to go…
Some people love this stage. I do not! Making, yes. Adding buttons, or carving into a leather hard form, yes. Firing the greenware, unloading a bisque kiln, love. Waxing and glazing absolutely. But turning a pot over and trimming it is bottom of the list. It is an essential step, and can take almost as much time to trim as it did to throw it. And it makes a HUGE mess on my basement floor, which is one of the reasons it bothers me so much. I love to procrastinate, but then you have to be careful not to let them get too dry otherwise all that throwing is for nothing! So throwing a 100 bowls in a week also means trimming a 100 bowls too…what was I thinking?!
ready to dry
centered and stamped footring
Day 3: I threw 13 small bowls, starting at 3/4 pound but then increased it to a pound for the last half thrown. After I cleaned up for the day, I went back to photograph and saw the pile of clean tools sitting on the still dirty wheel. Can’t clean everything every time!
day 3 results, 13 more
the essentials, clean
Day 4: The day was quite broken up: an hour before school, squeezed in a half hour after school and before pick-up, and snuck in another hour or so before dinner (that never happens!). I increased to 1 1/4 pounds for each, and had to wedge a lot more recycled clay before I could throw. With the larger size I decided I should alter a few more, especially the taller ones I plan on carving once they set up and are trimmed.
day 4 results, 12 in total
day 4, getting close to the berry bowl!
day 4 favorite
With the morning delay I had some extra time to warm up the studio and throw for an hour. This time I used 3/4 pound balls of clay, and made 11 bowls before I had to clean up and go to work. Two things I noticed…it is hard for me to NOT alter the round bowl shape, so after the first four I decided I wasn’t allowed to do anymore of this set. The second was that structurally these bowls felt better – and I didn’t want to crash them as much as I wanted to crash yesterday’s bowls!
I only had two hours today, and some of that was spent reorganizing the neglected studio, and throwing in a load of laundry, of course. I decided I needed to give myself an assignment after a failed attempt at making some new forms last week. It’s been hard to get motivated, the main reason being the basement is freezing! The heater works hard but it takes a lot of time and energy to make it tolerable. Especially in the morning. On top of that, the little but lovely natural light that came from the windows is gone. They are all completely covered in the snow.
I started with half pound balls of clay, and will most likely add to that as I get in a few days. Small bowls, simple, altered, whatever shape they may take. My goal is to make 100 in a week. After about an hour of throwing I ended up with 10 imperfect little bowls that I would love to crash. I altered a few, and left the rest to set up. The next 10 will be better.
Here are some of my favorite stamps I used to sprig some buttons.
Last week I finally got some fresh bagged clay and it was time to stop putting off making some larger size button bowls. I’ve been hesitant to throw anything bigger than 2 1/2 pounds, but I could feel my strength return and knew I should at least attempt it. I started with 3 then slowly made my way up to 6 over the course of a few days before I hit my limit. Trimming and buttoning the bowls gave me a few days to rest and yesterday while I was icing my sore back I decided I needed to make some vegan chocolate mousse…and soon. (sounds logical doesn’t it?) While looking at the book’s recipe, I noticed the mousse was being served in the sweetest little ceramic bowls, that to be honest, looked like something I would make. Slightly flared and altered and glazed in what looked to be my beloved spodumene. Inspired, I went back down and threw a few one pound balls before deciding on a final shape. Today I threw 20 more, and when I was done, treated myself to some of that chocolate mousse.
Aside from recovering (see last post), we were able to finish up October with lots of good activity! From the top: A handmade lemonbee sign for shows, Violet finds just the right pumpkin in the pumpkin field, Clem holds onto hers on the tractor ride, awesome days at Maynardfest and Sudbury Craft Fair, windy family picture, C&V posing with their pumpkins, successful bisque firings of bottle vases, practicing some new imagery through a sgraffito workshop, and carving pumpkins with Grampy -Violet style!
Couldn’t have done it without the help of great friends and family! Next event: Holiday Open House with Blue Hoot, December 6th!