Lebenszeichen / Let’s make pots again

Aaaaaach, war das ein langes Jahr ohne Ton! Aber es ist vorbei, geschafft, überstanden. Seit etwa einem Monat bin ich in Schottland und seit etwa einem Monat habe ich keine Chance mehr auf saubere Fingernägel. Jeden Tag habe ich stundenlang geknetet, gedreht, gerollt. Und jetzt, nach einem Monat, erlaube ich mir eine erste Verschnaufpause. Und deshalb sitze ich jetzt vor dem Computer, kümmere mich um Frans Facebook Seite, und kehre zum ersten Mal seit mehr als einem Jahr zu meinem Blog zurück und zu versuchen, meine Begeisterung in Worte zu fassen.

Wie auch schon letztes Jahr habe ich mich bei Fran einquartieren und mir mit ihr und John das Studio teilen dürfen. Gemeinsam haben wir in den vergangenen Wochen ununterbrochen gearbeitet. Naja… Vielleicht nicht ununterbrochen… ein Spaziergang auf Lunan Bay oder entlang der Klippen, ab und zu ein Gläschen Wein und kulinarische Höhenflüge wie Johns phantastische Kofta oder meine nicht so schlechte Quiche mussten auch mal sein.

Während Fran sich auf Pittenweem Arts Festival vorbereitete – wo sie sich in diesen Augenblicken dem kritischen Blick der “edinburghischen” Kunstliebhaberszene aussetzt -, kam ich all jenen Bestellungen nach (hoffe ich?), die bereits vor einem Jahr aufgegeben wurden. Und dann… ja dann war da noch das Thema des Umzugs nach Graz. Raus aus der Regelschule und WG, hinein in die Meisterschule für keramische Formgebung und Kleinwohnung. Und um das richtig zu zelebrieren: Geschirr.

In Folge seht ihr ein paar Bilder meiner Zeit hier und der Arbeit, die in den letzten Wochen entstanden ist. Der Gedanke, in den kommenden Jahren größtenteils auf IKEA Geschirr verzichten und meine eigenen Teller, Schüsseln, … verwenden zu können macht mich ekstatisch. Ist das komisch? Oder vielleicht doch nachvollziehbar?

This year without clay has been faaaaar to long. But after about a month of constantly keeping my fingers covered in layers of super groggy black clay and the smoothest of porcelains, I can finally believe it myself: yes, it was a long year. But it’s over, done with. I survived!
After going cold-turkey last September and abstaining from clay for 10 months, I obviously could not take it easy when I finally arrived here in Scotland. The clay mania started on July 13th and has had me busy until today. It has not been an idle four weeks. Today, however, I finished all of the work that needed finishing before drying and going into the kiln, which has left me with some time to take pictures, update Fran’s Facebook page and return to this blog to share with you my excitement, my exhilaration and utter contentment.

Just like last year, I am staying at Fran Marquis’s studio again. Fran, her assistant John and I have been sharing the studio space, keeping each other inspired and sometimes distracting or uplifting each other with a walk on Lunan Bay, a jog along the cliffs, Kofta, Quiche and the occasional glass of wine. Or a G&T.

While Fran’s aim was to produce as much work as possible for Pittenweem Arts Festival – where she is facing the critical gaze of the mostly Edinburgh-based and art-loving high society of these parts – I was aiming to catch up with orders that had been placed aaaaages ago (hope I got all of them covered!). And then… well then there was also my moving to another place, leaving my teaching job and shared apartment behind to finally do the ceramics degree I’ve been dreaming about and live in a place of my own. And unlike so many potters who eat off of IKEA plates, I wanted my OWN tableware. You wouldn’t believe how excited I am to ditch IKEA and to be using bowls, cups, plates, mugs… loads of stuff that I made! I am THRILLED! Really weird? Or maybe just a little bit strange?

Anyways… here are a few pictures of my time here and of already finished work I took today. What do you think of my new, black-and-white line of tableware?

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Dramatic sky over Lunan Bay.
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Fran and I enjoying a walk along Lunan Bay.
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Seascape tea bowls.
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Fresh gooseberries from the garden in a bowl that’s equally fresh… from the kiln.
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Copper-red oil jug. This was the only piece from our gas firing that showed any real sign of reduction. I love it.

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Naked-raku bowls mad to order
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Slab plate in the making.
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My new tableware just after the bisque.
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Finished slab plates, wheel-thrown plates and bowls. Black grogged clay with porcelain slip decoration.
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Alpine landscape plates.
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Bowls, bowls, bowls.

After the storm

12 Wochen lernen, lachen, fluchen, fit sein, krank sein, probieren, verwerfen. Errungenschaften, Katastrophen, Lob, Schimpfe, Hunger, Sattsein, Durst, Spaß, Katerstimmung.

Und jetzt Ruhe, Sitzen, Zuschauen. Um mich herum wird noch panisch gefertigt, glasiert, poliert. Der Sturm hat noch nicht für alle aufgehört. Aber für mich schon. Ich muss nur noch genießen und packen. Nach Siena fahren. Kaffee trinken. Spaziergänge machen. Die Ruhe so richtig einsinken lassen. Meine Fotos durchschauen. Und euch ein paar visuelle Eindrücke von den Abenteuern der letzten vier Wochen geben.

Ach ja. Ich bin inzwischen unter die Instagrammer gegangen. Wenn ihr Lust auf mehr Bilder habt, dann schaut mal vorbei. Ich freu mich @lena.butschek.ceramics

12 weeks of learning, laughing, cursing, trying, failing, retrying, and sometimes succeeding. Health, colds, exhaustion, exhilaration, praise, telling off, hunger, thirst, hangovers, fun, fullness.

And now quiet. Sitting and watching while leaning back. My storm is over. While most of my classmates are still finishing some of their work, running back and forth between kilns, wax and glaze buckets, all I have to do is pack my stuff, pay a visit to the beautiful town of Siena, drink coffee, go for walks, sneak in a bit of cleaning, sort out my pictures and give you a bit of an insight into what’s been happening here. It’s going to be a slightly random and visual one.

Visual just like the many pictures I’ve been posting on Instagram. So if you feel like seeing more of my work, check it out 🙂 @lena.butschek.ceramics 

Espresso cups in hamada green and turquoise
Espresso cups in hamada green and turquoise
Espresso bowls from a clay I mixed myself.
Espresso bowls from a clay I mixed myself.
Big bowl with texture.
Big bowl with texture.
Tumblers with the same "golf-ball" design
Tumblers with the same “golf-ball” design
A treausure from the wood firing
A treausure from the wood firing
Serving bowl toasted in the wood kiln
Serving bowl toasted in the wood kiln
Teapot glazed in sunset shino. Also out of the wood kiln.
Teapot glazed in sunset shino. Also out of the wood kiln.
Almost bottom-less porcelain bowl in celadon glaze.
Almost bottom-less porcelain bowl in celadon glaze.
Agate ware, that is clay of two different colors thrown in one piece. This one is a porcelain body, partially colored with cobalt carbonate.
Agate ware, that is clay of two different colors thrown in one piece. This one is a porcelain body, partially colored with cobalt carbonate.
Porcelain candle holder.
Porcelain candle holder.

 

 

Week 6 in pictures

Coffe cup. White salt and tenmoku glaze. Reduction fired.
Coffe cup. White salt and tenmoku glaze. Reduction fired.
Coffe cup. Dry blue under celadon. Reduction fired.
Coffe cup. Dry blue under celadon. Reduction fired.
Mug. White salt. Reduction fired.
Mug. White salt. Reduction fired.
Little jugs.  Top: dry blue under celadon. Bottom: white salt.
Little jugs.
Top: dry blue under celadon.
Bottom: white salt.
Little bowl. White salt and tenmoku glaze. Reduction fired.
Little bowl. White salt and tenmoku glaze. Reduction fired.
Little bowl. White salt glaze over wax pattern. Reduction fired.
Little bowl. White salt glaze over wax pattern. Reduction fired.
Little vase. White salt under celadon. Reduction fired.
Little vase. White salt under celadon. Reduction fired.
Little globe. White salt. Reduction fired.
Little globe. White salt. Reduction fired.

 

Spielen mit verschiedenen Tonarten / Playing with different clay bodies

These two vases were part of a clay-recycling project before my summer break, which means that I actually threw and altered them more than two months ago. But, alas, I wasn’t here to kick the kiln place people’s ass, and so it took them even longer than that to fire these pieces. Just over a week ago I finally got to add the last touch (the glaze on the inside). Thankfully.

What I did with these vases is different from any of my earlier projects because it involves two stoneware clay bodies: a white one as the base (the one that I actually threw the vases with), and a dark grey one that I turned into a slip and then brushed onto the outer surface of the pots. Once the vases were leatherhard, I scratched into the surface of both and cut the rim of one of the pots to create this kind of layered look. I think I like it. Definitely something to keep experimenting with…

Bauchige Vase Blattvase

Die Teekanne meiner Großmutter / My Grandma’s Teapot

Teekanne für 1-2

Seit ich mich erinnern kann trinkt meine Großmutter zu Abend Schwarztee. Es ist ein Ritual, das in meiner Erinnerung mit viel Zucker und einem Teeservice aus roter Irdenware verbunden ist.Ihre Teekanne und Tassen sind unkaputtbar. Zweitere müssen schon tausende Male im Geschirrspüler gewesen sein, aber sie haben keine Matzen, keine Kratzer, keine Makel.

Das Teeservice meiner Großmutter hat somit einen großen Vorbildstatus für mich errungen. Ob es tropft weiß ich gar nicht. Aber ich weiß, dass ich die Form und Qualität, die mir immer so selbstverständlich erschien, gerne nachbauen würde.

Meine ersten Teekannen und -tassen orientieren sich weniger an der Farbe, sehr wohl aber an der Form, die mir so vertraut geworden ist. Noch tropfen sie, sind zu klein, und wer weiß wie beständig sie sich gegen Matzen zu wehren wissen. Aber trotzdem bin ich ein bisschen stolz auf Teekanne Nr. 1 und 2. Und die dazu passenden Tassen…

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother has had black tea with her dinner. It is a ritual that involves a whole lot of sugar, Lady Grey and a teapot and cups of red earthenware. Italian-made, I think.The teapot and cups have always been the same. The latter must have been in the dishwasher thousands of times, but there is not a trace of damage. No chipped rims, no cracks, no scratches.

As an aspiring potter, I have come to appreciate the quality of my grandma’s dishware. I don’t even know whether her teapot drips – it probably does, like most – but even so I aim to one day make pots that last as long as hers, and that combine function and form so effortlessly.

My first teapots and cups have been inspired by my grandmother’s old teaset. Not in color, but in shape they strive to imitate its easy elegance.
They drip. And they are still too small. But still, I am a tiny little bit proud of my teapots #1 and #2 and the cups that go with them.