Wednesday, December 27, 2006


A moody hand-held shot over my roof westwards.It did snow unconvincingly a couple of times this afternoon,and it's certainly cold enough.I'm off out for a walk to my favourite massage therapist,Israel Levi down in Meor Chaim.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Concrete Carpet

In the nick of time the workers got a layer of concrete down on this street in the Artists' Quarter [prior to paving it with stone,we hope]


Just a window in the rain


You don't often see a squash that big in Tzfat. I hope he's not going to take it up those stairs on that trolley...

A Wet Walk in Tzfat

Some rain has come at last,with rumours of snow on the Hermon [about time!],maybe tomorrow here also,bearing in mind that "snow in Tzfat" is one of the more persistent Israeli urban myths.The door is part of a fine Tzfat house that used to belong to Ziggy Lobel,a woodworker,then to friends Tammi and Tzvika; the current owners painted it orange,but it has faded to a pleasant peach-pink.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Bag Balm

A bit too hardcore for me,but Sydney says all the Canadian potters use it [I forgot to ask Robin Hopper],maybe because the udder on the label looks surprisingly like a four-footed bowl.My hands do get rather rough around the edges,especially in Winter,but hardly 'caked bags'.I think I'll stick to Vaseline Intensive Care,the Potter's Friend.


Friday, December 22, 2006


Captured in relaxed mood at the symposium,three elderly ceramic codgers- Avner,Amiram,Sydney- they should all be healthy.Avner isn't so old.

Another Chanukah,Another Symposium

Just back from Tel Hai,where we wrapped up our tenth pottery symposium at 12:30 [right on schedule] after three days of wonderful undiluted ceramics with our guests Robin Hopper from Canada and Sotis Filippides from London.The atmosphere,as always,was inspiring,vast amounts of experience shared,knowledge exchanged,and fun had.Robin made some 28 pieces in all manner of shapes and sizes,which we auctioned off [still damp] very successfully in the last half hour,and Sotis made 3 mysterious,thought-provoking pieces and charmed everyone's socks off.15 small cups that he brought were sold in a flash,all proceeds to our fantastic students,who worked hard [with Gunn and the Tel Hai staff,the Agudah,and Ruth Corman in London] to get this show on the road.The food on the first night was terrible,greatly improved thereafter.Our students made,apart from incessant tasty sandwiches,cakes and fresh orange juice,a brisk video to celebrate this tenth year,talking to teachers and graduates,which was one of the highlights of the symposium.I am exhausted,and I didn't even have that much to do.The dry and sunny weather was appreciated,but we could do with some rain now,please.Shabbat Shalom-Chanukah Sameach,have a great New Month!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This year's Chanukiot

If you come to our symposium at Tel Hai you might even see one of them being lit.Unless I sell them all before.You should come anyway- our guests this year are Sotis Fillipides [www.sotis.co.uk] from London and Robin Hopper[www.chosinpottery.ca ] from Canada.20-22December. Abandon your families this festive season for serious [and often hilarious] pottery action at Tel Hai. Posted by Picasa

Fortuitous Fixes

I didn't know if this would work:the chanukiah came out of its glaze firing with a large crack where the [badly-attached] shamash [ninth candle-holder] had partially separated from the body.I made up a stiff paste of feldspar,patched the area,prayed,refired-and it worked.Not to mention that the rest of the Chanukiah survived a couple of refires- no mean feat. Posted by Picasa


Two Teapots

From the kiln this morning.First I helped unload and stack a load of nice-looking red eucalyptus and nice-smelling olive wood from Cadita for the stove,then unloaded the kiln- later this afternoon off for a shiatsu treatment,where I plan to unload some shoulder tension.A sort of unloading day,in short.These are the last of a set of teapots I made a couple of months ago,one-drip wonders both of them.At least the spout straightened up pretty well [for those who don't make teapots- the spouts 'unwind' in the firing,so you have to compensate when cutting their pouring edge;I usually get this wrong] Posted by Picasa


Trying out a new wide-angle lens. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Digging it

Awoke this morning to the sounds of a tractor digging close by-usually a portent of bad news,or at least great mess.This time it seems that there's a plan to excavate the old khan in the centre of Tsfat,under the current bus park,behind my studio.Tsfat was known as the donkey-hire centre of the region [one of the rooms in our house was a stable,and it is well known that the Messiah,on his way from Meron to Jerusalem,will stop off in Tsfat to get his white donkey.] The khan was covered over after the last major earthquake in the 30's,but,interestingly,the donkeys remain in Tsfat,many with important jobs in the Municipality.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Back from London

The title,I feel,says it all.As usual,had a great time in what has been my home town [when in England] for the last 35 years.These slides are the current installation in the main hall of the Tate Modern- you get some tickets [free],go up to the appropriate floor,sit in a sack,and off you go,in the name of art.I wrenched my back slightly [probably because I was trying to video my ride down the tube] but a shiatsu treatment in Ealing [called The Ealing Centre] set that straight.More culture supplied by Velasquez and Cezanne at the National Gallery,and the Oriental Ceramics rooms of the V&A,where the european ceramics is closed 'til 2009,if you please,for a long-overdue refit. I also visited Sotis Filippidis,one of our guests at the Tel Hai Symposium in a couple of weeks,in his tiny studio in Fulham.
Not a great deal has happened in the studio since I got back- yesterday I fired the last glaze kiln in the current series,but ran out of gas tantalisingly close to the end- just before cone 7 [about 1200 degrees]-something,strangely,I've never done before-so will order gas Sunday and refire next week.The weather is sunny and not too cold,but my old Waterford wood stove is in bad shape,and needs replacing this year.