Sunday 15 April 2012

New 'Bird Bowl' Pouring Bowls

I’ve been making some new products recently and thought I’d blog about one of them: so above is a photo of my new ‘bird bowl’ pouring bowls. They’re an adaptation or variation on my ‘drizzle’ bowls, which is the name I gave for small bowls with a pouring lip. (You can see posts about them here and here.) The original ‘drizzle’ bowl design was a simple bowl small enough to hold in the palm of your hand – about 8cm across by 5cm high – with a slight pouring lip: perfect for drizzling oils, dressings and spices. Having run out of these I decided to make a new batch. However, on turning day I had the idea of making this batch with little handles…

At first I toyed with the idea of designing a ‘traditional’ looped handle with just enough space for one finger to go through. But the bowls are so low, this style of handle would have felt too cumbersome and heavy. It would also have upset their centre of gravity making them susceptible to knocking over too easily. So in the end I opted for a ‘thumb’ handle: a small addition to the rim of the bowl where your thumb naturally wants to rest when pouring from the palm. It was fun trying out little shapes that might work. In the end I chose a simple, rounded shape seen below. I also added a few lined impressions using a wooden tool to give the thumb grip and to add texture and interest.

While the handles were drying ready for attaching, they reminded me of little rabbit paws: but once they were fitted to the bowl, they seemed to look like stubby tails on a small bird! So straight away I knew they’d have to be called bird bowls. I think this design of handle has worked very well. It lifts up the form and gives the bowl a very sprightly quality and makes you want to pick them up. So it’s an interesting variation, which I hope people will like.

I tried out a variety of glazes with this shape to see how they would work. In the end I’m happy with all the colour combinations and plan to repeat them and maybe try others too. I’ve glazed each bowl by dipping the whole pot into the glaze leaving just the handle, which I’ve dipped in a contrasting glaze with some overlap. The combinations so far include: white with a black tail, brown with a blue/white tail, and a lovely tin based glaze which has a creamy brown fleck contrasted with a brown tail. See? I’ve called all the handles tails…!

All three glaze combinations of bird bowls are available now in my Folksy shop.

Friday 6 April 2012

St Ives: Inspiration

I thought I’d do something new today. As you can see from my last blog post I recently went to St Ives for a week. I had a fantastic time and almost overdosed on inspiration. I wanted to blog about my trip some more, but couldn’t decide what to focus on. Should I talk about all the fantastic galleries I went to? Or my visit to the Barbara Hepworth museum? What about Alfred Wallis maybe (especially since I stayed in his cottage!) or something about the Tate…?

But as I was going through all the photos I took, I got distracted. Instead of picking some nice pictures to illustrate a blog post about what I’d seen, I started playing around with the images themselves.

I take lots of photos. In fact I will admit that I’m not really a fan of sketching. It’s probably an outrageous thing for an artist to say! But I’ve always found drawing outdoors a cumbersome way of retaining the ideas I get when walking around. Instead I take photos for reference, and having a digital camera (instead of my old ‘analogue’ SLR) allows me to take literally hundreds of photos without incurring costs. When I’m out and about I can click away, capturing colours, forms and ideas in a fraction of the time it takes to fuss about with pencils, numb fingers and sketchbook pages flapping in the wind.

Anyway, the point is, looking back over my St Ives photos today brought out some interesting ideas. I noticed recurring themes as well as some details which I quickly snapped at the time and moved on from, that now - after some time has passed - seem to stand out. I started putting these together into little groups and then decided to blog about these instead! Here's just a few of them. Because in an odd way these images capture something of what it was like walking around St Ives, soaking in the inspiration. Much better than me waffling on about it! I hope you enjoy them!

See more St Ives pictures on my Flickr Set.