Monday, October 30, 2006


As if crystal glazing weren't complicated enough.Two [more] techniques I learned from the wizards of the crystal glaze forum [see links]: silver nitrate and rare earths [neodymium] as colourants in the base glaze,followed by striking- refiring the pots to lustre temperature [720 deg.C],which,for reasons unclear,causes a change in colour,as in picture [probably above]:left is before striking.
The pots are truncated due to Picasa's way of dealing with vertical shots,and my failure to take this into account,but you get the idea.Incidentally,I read on the net that 'rare earths' are not particularly rare.Just expensive.I don't think that I shall be making a habit of using these materials,but it was fun raising eyebrows at the chemical supply company when I asked for the rare earths [I have a smidgeon of praseodymium as well,but they wouldn't give me any uranium].Also,after failing totally to understand the subject at school,it is satisfying to find myself 40 years later on the wilder shores of chemistry. Posted by Picasa


Friday, October 27, 2006


That's the name of the first rains,which arrived promptly the day after we started praying for rain,on Shmini Atzeret at the end of Succot.Supposedly the rain then stops for a couple of months [to give you the chance to fix the leaks that have appeared],starting again,we hope,after our Symposium at Tel Hai [Chanukah- this year's guest: Robin Hopper!] Posted by Picasa


A free carwash in Haifa. Posted by Picasa


Back on the road with Sydney- always a pleasure: on Tuesday we picked up S.'s repaired thermocouples [see,it's not just me] from a newly-discovered place in Haifa,learning in the process quite a lot about heat measurement;then to Keramicon in Hod Hasharon to pick up some Tom Coleman porcelain [rumour has it that he wants to visit Israel...],also to meet up with ex-student Ayelet [pic] and visit her studio. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 16, 2006


That stuck-on neck reminded me that I wanted to make some pieces based on contemporary Venetian glass shapes I saw in Museon Haaretz on a recent trip with Tel Hai students.
These pieces were assembled straight from the wheel,trying to catch an off-centre balance.Whether or not they will stand up to the kiln remains to be seen... Posted by Picasa


Looking at the last bunch,I wasn't convinced by the finish of the neck... Posted by Picasa


Quite quick to make,but quite interesting visually.Hans Coper used these techniques,also the old Cycladean potters. Posted by Picasa

Round Two

Here's the second batch of shapes-thrown and assembled. Posted by Picasa


It's [mildly] interesting to look back over the last few batches of porcelain pots I've been making for crystal glazes: after many years of very simple thrown vase-shapes [chiefly due to high failure rate and difficult clay] the new clay,kiln and glaze invite experimentation with form,while still trying to make shapes that will compliment the glaze.
This one was made before the war, slabbed/thrown.Yes,that's a crack front right. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 06, 2006


Having sorted out the soft furnishing aspects of the succah,I have just finished fixing up our lulav- a very old folk craft preserved in the Jewish faith,and surrounded by rather Japanese-like instructions,strictures and unobvious concepts of beauty.
Each of the four species has to be just so- I spent a good [and enjoyable] hour yesterday examining piles of lulavim [palm leaves],heaps of hadassim [myrtle]- which miraculously grow rings of three leaves along their whole lengths [a trick completely beyond our courtyard myrtle],buckets of pink-stemmed aravot [willow] and what must have been more than 50 etrogs until I found that special one that talks to you -"Hi- I'm your etrog for this year!" As you can see,this year's is a gesunder,with a great pale-green colour accentuated by darker green dots,a Fuji-like peak,suitably interesting wrinkles and furrows,and a generally self-confident appearance.
Happy Succot! Come sit in our Succah-you're all invited! Posted by Picasa

This Year's Succah

Succot- the holiday when everyone gets to be an architect!Helen asked for a shanti succah this year in honour of son Benjamin and girlfriend Giselle,due back in a few days from 5 months in India.As usual,it's a minimalist structure-20 nails and as many pieces of wood as you need to build a cube.This year the succah has two rooms,for reasons currently unclear. Posted by Picasa