Monday, February 02, 2009

Imbolc Greetings!

Hello Friends-
i'm writing this on the evening of Imbolc, February 2. Imbolc is an old pagan/Celtic holiday, usually dedicated to Bridget, a Goddess of Creativity and the Hearth. The group that i celebrate the wheel of the year with celebrates Imbolc by gathering around a hearth. We tell each other stories, the history of our group and we celebrate our creativity. It's my favorite holiday, because it really feels like family and home to me, spending a long dark night gathered near the fire, really listening to my friends. And "celebrate we will" to quote that ancient bard Dave Matthews, this coming Saturday.
But i also wanted to spend this evening- not exactly celebrating per se, as much as codifying what we do here at Dancing Pig.

I've been putting this off for a while now, but i really do feel the need to create some sort of overview of the glazes, clays and shapes we produce here at Dancing Pig's World Headquarters. The trouble is, i'm not sure exactly how to go about it, especially within this blog format.

I've been procrastinating long enough. I'm going to begin and hope that this isn't too much of a horrible mess.

So, ::ahem::, err,

Here at Dancing Pig, i make pots. One at a time, each on my ancient potter's wheel (seriously, i think it might be as old as i am, and trust me, neither of us are going to see 30 again. Maybe not even 40). I decorate most of these pots. (sometimes my sister, Jill/Bran carves the Ceilidh pots). Then i glaze most of the pots. (sometimes Darrell helps me with this, sometimes Jill does, i'm hoping to recruit Nic aka the kid nextdoor, but i need money to procure his services). The pots are fired in the electric kiln that i load and unload. They are priced and packed and then sold at shows- Celtic Festivals, Renaissance Festivals, Fairie Festivals and online, via Etsy.
I take the money i make from selling pots and buy more clay and pay my electric bill and make more pots. (cue music...."the circle of life")

It is really, really important to me to make pots that people will use in their everyday life. I believe that we each of us need to touch something handmade, something made with love and integrity, eavery day. It's a spiritual thing for me. I'm making my life, my living with my hands. I'm putting a small part of my soul into each pot i make and i'm sharing that with you. You get to take my pots with you, into your cubicle or your weaving studio, and drink your tea out of something that was made by human hands. That matters. To me, it is vital and important enough for me to spend my life working in the mud to make it happen more often for more folks. Folks like you.

OK, i'm spinning off into philosphy and mission statements. I want this post to be about the pots i make.

Spiraling back:
Here at Dancing Pig we make functional pottery, often decorated with Celtic and/or nature motifs. We make our pots with stoneware clay. The clay comes in 3 colors:


tan and

dark red/brown.

I often use the same glaze on each type of clay- for example, in the pictures above, that's the same green glaze on both the white clay and the dark red/brown clay. Quite a change, huh?!

We tend to group the pots we make into colourways. About 60-70% of the pots i make are done in the white clay, because the white clay tends to show the glaze to the best effect. (and by best, i mean bestselling, which is important after all- if i make pots folks don't like, they don't sell. And i don't get to make more pots)

So, in the white clay we have:

Celtic Vine : Green and white glaze on white clay with my Celtic Vine carved on a band around the neck of the pot.

Soft Blue and Green glaze on white clay, often with prehistoric chalk figures or greenmen added.

Pete's Blue
A very dark, almost black, blue glaze with a white liner and knotwork band or pithy sayings around the neck of the pot.

And you know what?! it's late, i'm tired and i have to poke about on Flickr to get the rest of my pics in order to finish this post. So, i'm gonna stop here for the evening and finish this post, with the rest of our colourways, another time. Soon. I promise. No, really. Goodnight for now!