The Crafty Shrimp

My crafting adventures in fabric, clay and more…

Personal espresso time and a language lesson June 19, 2008

Filed under: Pottery,Switzerland — Eva @ 6:02 pm
Tags: ,

Everyone has their own rituals in the morning whilst waking up….but from the no breakfasters via the cereal and fruit people to the fry fanatics, many enjoy a lovely cup of coffee in the morning. My preference is a nice fluffy cappucchino but my brother for example prefers a strong espresso to give the day a kick start. So when he decided to move in with his girlfriend (yeah!!), I made these two personalized cups as their housewarming present. They were inspired by some cups I saw in Bon Marche on our Paris trip Iast September and I used a stamp set from Muji (bought that trip) to put their names on the spoons and “espresso” on the cups.

These are still leftover projects from my old pottery class (and there are still some more to follow) but a few weeks ago I found a new one! It’s just around the corner from my home, the teacher makes beautiful stuff and is not only intent on teaching me pottery but German as well! And it’s working really well, sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle but as the teacher also speaks English and French we generally work it out. I think it’s really a fabulous way to practice the language, learn a new skill and meet some new people. I’ve talked about this briefly before and wanted to emphasize the point as I had some comments about it in a previous post.

I guess my family has always had to learn languages. Before my brother and I were born, my parents moved from the Netherlands to France for my Dad’s job. Whilst he was working, my Mum was trying to learn the language, make friends and also find a job. She joined several courses and clubs, all in French and slowly, through cooking courses and flower identifying walks, learned the language and made friends. So I would definitely recommend anyone to join something like this. Many foreigners here often complain that it’s hard to meet the local Swiss people but I always think this is quite unfair as they often also don’t speak German or French. We can not expect everyone to speak English (well, or feel comfortable speaking it all the time) and therefore will have to make a bigger effort ourselves learning the local language. But once you do, you will find many lovely, funny, genuine and loyal friends.

 

No more pottery…. May 25, 2008

Filed under: Pottery — Eva @ 7:33 pm

….at least with my current teacher. When I got back from our Tassie trip, she announced that she was closing the studio at the end of April. This was pretty sad as I really enjoy making things and she had a fabulous collection of glazes. However, I also had my issues with the class and felt there wasn’t enough actual “teaching” or constructive criticism but just a lot of playing/messing about.

Knowing I only had 4 weeks left I set up a bit of a production line and was amazed by the quantity/quality I produced. I wanted to make some bowls and plates to match the butter dish I made a while ago to complete a breakfast set. So I made 6 plates, 3 bowls in varying sizes and a sugar pot as well.

I’m really pleased how they turned out, the bowl are nice and thin at the bottom and like the fact that the plates all have different shapes/sizes even though it wasn’t meant that way (something to learn properly in the future). The glazing worked out pretty well although there are some bare spots on it (she assured me one coat would be enough….not!) but that doesn’t bother us too much and we enjoy eating breakfast (and desserts!) from them.

 

Buttery goodness! November 17, 2007

Filed under: Pottery — Eva @ 7:54 am

butterdish.jpg

Just a quick one as we have a busy weekend filled with friends, lots of nice food and the prospect of a long walk in the snow (!I’m so excited!) on Sunday.┬áBut this is the newest addition to our breakfast table. It came out of the kiln last Tuesday and I’m so pleased. I used 2 glazes in different combinations, double layers result either in whit or the dark blue while the light blue is a single coat of each.

 

Cylindra, Goddess of Power…. November 4, 2007

Filed under: Bowl,Pottery — Eva @ 4:19 pm

simonesbowl.jpg

…was the title of the pottery course my teacher held for us this summer. It was all about how to work with big quantities of clay on the wheel to get the result you want. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go as I didn’t feel quite confident enough with my throwing skills to move onto bigger pieces, plus it was pretty pricey. In the end, she convinced me to go as she said I would learn a lot and also improve my current skills. So off we went, there was three of us in the class, which was a good number and for four consecutive days we battled our big (5-7kg) lumps of clay. I found it very tough going, specially the first few days as in the 3 hour classes we would make 1-2 pieces and I would mostly collapse/ruin them. Then day three, I started to get the hang of it a bit and by the end I managed to produce some decent stuff. So was it worth it? I’m not sure, I definitely learned a lot but feel I would have done better if I had been a bit more advanced already. However, it has definitely helped my throwing on a smaller scale and with time I think I will get back to the bigger pieces again but at the moment, I don’t feel like a goddess of power I have to say.

 

This bowl is one of the pieces I made during the course (they’re only coming out now as the kiln was broken for the last few months). It’s very thick at the bottom which makes it quite heavy but I’m pleased with the overall shape. I was also very pleased with how the glaze turned out, unfortunately, it dripped a lot at the bottom even though I’d cleaned off a good 2 cm ;-( My teacher suggested this is because it was so thick, it took a lot longer to cool and therefore dripped more. But I’m pleased with the end result and filled it with biscotti and little ghosts I made as a great birthday present for my good friend Simone!

 

Sea in my living room… July 22, 2007

Filed under: Bowl,Pottery — Eva @ 11:59 am

bowl1.jpg

One of my least favourite techniques in pottery is coiling. This is where you roll a tube of clay and coil this on top of itself to form the structure you want to make. Somehow the result is never quite what I want it to be: not smooth, either going to far in or out and it just reminds me of kindergarten projects. That was until a few weeks ago when my teacher showed me how to use this technique to create bigger vessels and how to smooth everything out. I have to confess it has risen rapidly to the top of my favourite techniques list and I think I’ll be making a few more bowl this way!

 

I created this bowl based on some things she had in her studio and was very keen to use the turqouise glaze that creates the “pinholing” effect. In addition, I like using the different shades of white/yellow that all have a slightly different shinyness/matness. I’m so pleased with the end result! Not only have the glazes merged beautifully but this funny bubbly effect has appeared on the side. It reminds me of beaches and sea foam and days at Tentsmuir beach near Dundee and has now a prominent place on our living room table.

 

Two little green bowls…. July 16, 2007

Filed under: Bowl,Pottery — Eva @ 11:53 am

greenbowls.jpg

…that I made recently, I love the way the glaze makes the spotty pattern on the inside and cracks slightly to give it the effect of being glass coated. I’m also very chuffed that I actually managed to throw two pieces of pretty similar dimensions. Also this was my first exercise in turning the bottoms of the pots (where you remove any unwanted clay from the bottom to make the feet) and I got a bit carried away (in a good way) as you can tell from the lines.

 

Another day, another blog! July 1, 2007

Filed under: Bowl,Pottery — Eva @ 7:40 pm

bowl.jpg

 

 

Why start another blog, I feel like I don’t get to post often enough on my first one! But I’ve found I’ve been spending a lot of time crafting recently for a few reasons. First, is a sewingmachine my mum gave me as a delayed birthday present (about 1.5 years-I’m so lucky I still got it!!) and second, I’ve started taken potteryclasses again. This is something I used to do and enjoy tremendously. So I was overjoyed when I found an english class in Basel. But now I’ve been producing lots of stuff and I want to log this somewhere so therefore this blog. A collection of creations with probably not so much text but we will see how it develops.

 

First up is a blow I made recently that is a birthdaypresent for my brother (happy birthday Tobias!). It’s a rolled slab of clay with a texture rolled into it (from a metal strip with lots of holes). Drapping it over a bowl created the wavey edge and some feet were slipped onto it. It came out very very shiny after the glazing as there was an accident with the kiln so it was at a high temperature for 2-3 days instead of 2-3 hours! But the effect was beautiful and I love how the glazing has all these different shades in it (an effect of my uneven pouring the glaze).