Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Path of Totality

If you can work out where you are [or will be on August 1st] on this rather strange map,you might also be able to work out how much of the solar eclipse you will see. If you want to see pictures of the last eclipse [2006] check out the label or type 'eclipse' in the little search place at the top of the blog.


Vine Check

Not quite ready for wine-making yet,and small in number and size for the second year running. Is our ancient [estimates vary from 120-200 years old] grandfatherly vine feeling its age? This is a Shmita [sabbatical] year,so the grapes are not my property- you can come and get some,if you like- but I can still make wine when the time comes;according to an ancient tradition either just before or immediately after the Eilat Jazz Festival [last week in August].

Sunday, July 27, 2008


The Hebrew letter decals I mentioned a while ago made a pleasing pattern before being sliced up and applied to mugs: Just the sort of thing this blog it all about.

...Like,Inevitably,Shoji Hamada Throwing

Just in case you've never seen the Master at work.
Once again,the telltale change in colour of the heading tells you to click on it. You'll get the hang of it in a while.


Kyudo [Click here for video!]

Japanese archery is [predicatably] much more complicated than the rag-bag western technique I practice,and you hit the target much less often,but I reckon the aims [sic] are the same- quieting the mind,being one with the target,trying not to get whacked by the string. Last time I shot at BetLehem HaGlilit Igor the Russian coach offered jokingly [I think] to chop my fingers off with his knife if I didn't relax them. I feel that sometimes he forgets he doesn't work for the K.G.B. anymore. My Blogmother and friend Hana Loftus often comments on her tendency to break things [computers,cameras etc]- I note that the release in Kyudo is termed hanare,meaning,appropriately,to divide.
Having established that I can post videos from Youtube with great ease,I shall proceed to post more...


Friday, July 25, 2008


Last Tuesday,as advertised,our students opened their show in Yafo. As you can see,it was a gratifyingly glittering and crowded affair. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the work on display,and we [Sydney,Gunn and I] even got home before midnight,when my Peugeot turns into a pumpkin. The show is open for a few more days [invitation below],so check it out.
If any of you students have better pictures of your work [or,in the case of Shir,any pictures] I'll be glad to post them...Shabbat Shalom!

Piece of Cake

Sydney and I partaking of a piece of cake outside a bakery amusingly called Piece of Cake in Yafo,just down the road from the gallery where our students have their exhibition. Actually,in Hebrew it's called Piss Off Cake,but you can't have everything. Or your cake and eat it,as Nanny [annoyingly] used to say.

Little Stunner

Another amazing diatom from Lama Mark Webber- this time it's Isthmia Enervis [Izzy to its diatomaceous friends]. Looks a bit like an Alef to me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Friendly Reminder

Our graduating students [sounds grand] and opening their terrific exhibition in Yafo tomorrow evening at 8. You are all cordially invited [see official invitation below somewhere].
It was hot today,so I fired another glaze kiln dafka. Tomorrow I am off in the morning to Yafo with Sydney,so I shall have to curb my curiosity and wait 'til Wednesday to open the kiln. I loaded the kiln with rather more care than last time,and the firing was smoother as a result,slightly hotter on the bottom,with a cleaner and more effective reducing flame.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tea Party

My last batch of teapots has sold out: they weren't that good,but they're gone,and Sydney feels a salt firing coming over him,and I've never made teapots for the salt,and I thought it might be quite a challenge to make them in the middle of a hot Summer,with pots drying while you look at them,and anyway my gas kiln is not giving me the results I look for [notwithstanding recent comments on kiln blame] -the new one is on its way from Laser in the U.K.- and I'm still trying to get that flush-fitting lid worked out,and after all these years I still haven't worked out how to slice the tip of the spout so it comes out of the firing straight [and doesn't drip] and I saw a picture of a squared teapot that I liked in a ceramic magazine and thought I'd like to try some,without being altogether clear about how to make them,and I had some space to fill in the bisc kiln. These are some of the thoughts behind the current foursome,which are now assembled,slipped for salt,and awaiting their bisc firing. I can see something wrong with each of them [angle of spout,height of handle,fit of lid,shape,proportion,balance...]...but the last lot sold...

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Shira [one of the students showing her work] sent me an ammended version of the invitation,which looks like this...

Invitation to the Show

So now it's official. Make a note of the date [22nd] and tell your friends.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Advance Notice

Back from a hot day in Yafo checking out the gallery where our 5 3rd year grads are showing their work opening July 22nd, eight in the evening, formal dress inadvisable. I expect you all to be there [there's some good work to be seen,and doubtless a glass of wine to be had]. The address is Rehov Yehuda HaYamit #22,just up the road from the Galei Tzahal building,and the show is due to run for 10 days. Further updates to come.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Freshly-thrown porcelain bowls making a pleasing pattern. Yes,that's a bit of applied blur round the edges.

Alef-Bet Mugs

I'm almost out of the small Hebrew alphabet decals that Josh Baum designed for me many years ago [top picture],but still have lots of sheets of large letters arranged in a circle [for the rim of a plate that has never quite happened]. Here are two mugs with the large letters cut up and individually placed: it takes a bit longer,but I like the effect. Classic work for an apprentice [not that I have one at the moment].

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Passover Crossover

The new generation of Passover/relish/saki/lechayim dishes. The six-shot at the back is an order for an interesting customer who has recently set the world record for jumping with a bungee made entirely from condoms. Invent your own jokes,but don't send them to me.

Make Two

This one came out nice,though.

Sometimes The Kiln Just Laughs At You

Harken,my friends,to what the old potters say: if you want one,make two,because something like this will happen to one of them- three-quarters underfired and stuck to two bowls.
The glaze firing was strange- a very smoky flame,but hard to get strong reduction pressure. I managed to get it evenly up to cone 9,but understood what had happened as soon as I opened the kiln the day after. Without going into all the sordid details,it was a bunch of things I'm supposed to know by now- not to jam the flue exits at the bottom with lots of pots and/or a too-low shelf [I did both,thank you], to give large and delicate pieces on which you've spent a long time the space they deserve in the kiln [which I didn't]-I was lecturing some unfortunate student on this topic only last week at Tel Hai.....and an important General Rule- don't blame your kiln,it's usually the fool loading and firing it.

Back On Line

After sundry technical hitches, manful struggles with a new modem/router and numerous complaints from aggrieved readers,we appear to be back on line,but it is late,so more [maybe] tomorrow.