by Eleanor Hendriks
It's so easy to fall into a habitual way of doing things, even if it doesn't really make sense. For example, I made glazing Berry Bowls much harder than it really needed to be for a long time.
In case you aren't familiar with Berry Bowls, they are small colanders for washing, storing and serving berries, usually with a little matching saucer -like this one that I have in my Etsy store.
The biggest trick with glazing these is keeping all the holes clear of glaze. When a bowl like this is dunked in a bucket of glaze the holes usually fill in because the glaze is quite thick. They have to be cleared or the bowl won't drain.
At first, I used to dip the berry bowls, let the glaze dry and then scrape the glaze out of the holes with a little knife. This was a messy, dusty job and it took forever. I got the brainwave that it would be easier to remove the glaze while it was still wet. I started blowing through the holes that were clogged with glaze immediately after dipping and this worked admirably well -for a while.
My Berry Bowls became quite popular and I now make them 3 dozen at a time. When I first started doing them in this quantity, I would have to avoid glazing too many at a time because all the hole blowing would make me lightheaded -if you've ever tried to blow up a whole bunch of balloons at once - you know what I mean.
Finally the day came when I had to glaze quite a few Berry Bowls all at once and was up against a deadline so I didn't have the luxury of only doing a few at a time. I stood at my glazing table dipping and blowing away until I was more lightheaded than I had ever been. I kept working anyways -and I blacked out for a moment! Imagine my surprise when I came to only a few milli-seconds later and realized that I had lost my balance and hit the tongs holding a freshly glazed Berry Bowl against the side of the glaze bucket. Luckily, I hadn't dropped the bowl AND the sharp hit had cleared all the holes completely and more neatly than all my blowing had ever done!!
I now dip and tap my way to clear holes in any quantity of Berry Bowls whenever I like -without losing my head!!
Here are a few fully alert Berry Bowls in the kiln ready to fire...
Does any one else learn things the hard way??