Friday, May 23, 2008

Learning things the hard way!

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??

4 comments:

Cynthia said...

What a great story, Eleanor - I wasn't expecting the ending...

I learn the hard way ALL the time!

Artyfax said...

A happy ending but it could have been a lot worse. You were lucky, I guess

gr said...

funny you mention it: yesterday, for the nth time: as I was glazing, bent over a bucket and Istood and cracked my skull against a shelf corner---just as I have so many times before. Maybe I should, ah, move the shelf?
btw---I scrape the holes with a sharp little knife

Gina said...

How funny! I've always blown but will try this great tip next time.

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