Thursday, June 02, 2005


Unseasonably cool-where's this global warming we've been promised?We even had a dramatic downpour a few days ago.Usually by now I've forgotten what it feels like to be cold.I've been having more fun with the new porcelain,as you can see-there's a bisc kiln packed with (for me) huge pots-goodness knows how I shall glaze them,as most are bigger than my glaze buckets.On Tuesday the students at Tel Hai finished loading the anagama,firing started Wednesday,and I showed up Thursday night for my firing shift;as predicted,the Chiefs/Indians ratio meant that there wasn't a lot to do.After I left,the kiln got into a typical anagama loop where it refused to get hotter (this traditionally happens around 1220 degrees,when the cones are tantalisingly starting to bend,but refuse to drop).After a few hours of trying various strategies to no avail,the female students sent the despondent males off to rest and took over:after some hard stoking,they got the kiln up to temperature,finishing Friday midday,with suspicions that the back of the kiln was too cold - suspicions that,when the kiln was unloaded yesterday,apparently proved groundless.I hope to see results next Tuesday,and shall report.
Yesterday I drove down to Raanana for the yearly Potters' Fair in the park: every few years I exhibit pots there,but it is much more enjoyable,as this year,to go as a spectator.The pottery community in Israel is gratifyingly warm,friendly,supportive and helpful- it's a great priviledge to be part of it.The standard of work seems to improve from year to year;this year,especially,it was good to see new faces (some,I am pleased to say,students of ours who are beginning their professional careers).As always,it was wonderful to greet friends and colleagues-it took me four hours just to make the rounds and see what everyone's up to.This year's highlight was seeing the new work of Keren and Dotan,two excellent students who graduated a year ago and set up a studio together among the abandonned chicken-sheds of kibbutz Shfayim with a large scrounged gas kiln.


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