Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘pottery

My home is decorated mostly with items I´ve brought back from my travels. Since we can’t travel right now, it’s comforting to remember past trips. We enjoy looking through our photographs or at items we have brought back to remind us of wonderful times. I don’t do a lot of shopping when I travel, but I like to bring back a piece of art or handicraft as a memento of the place we’ve visited.

One of these items is a small, rustic vase decorated with rawhide that sits on my mantel. Something I couldn’t bear to leave behind, so it came with me to Spain. I believe I purchased it in Arizona at a Native American craft shop. I remember asking the salesperson about the background of the pottery, as I always like to know about the art I purchase. She kindly wrote the name of the Native North American Indian tribe the artist belonged to on the back of the American Express receipt. I got busy and forgot to do any research when I got home.

The other day as I was dusting the mantel, I wished I had looked up some information about the creators of the pottery. I reached inside and found a piece of paper. I pulled out a yellowed and very faded receipt. The young woman’s printing on the back of it was still clear: TARAHUMARA.

My piece of Tarahumara pottery

We had just watched a show on TV about the Tarahumara Indians who live in the Copper Canyon, in the state of Chihuahua, Northern Mexico. When I tutored Korean students in English, I used a lesson plan about the Tarahumara Racers who run a 90-mile race non-stop over rough terrain, often barefoot or wearing homemade huaraches, with little difficulty.

After doing some research, I found that author Christopher McDougall has written a book called Born to Run, where he highlights these amazing people with incredible running abilities.

Here is a short video about these special people.

Tarahumara pottery is made of rough earthen clay and is usually white, orange, or brown. A decorative slip made of red ocher powder and water is often applied. The vessel is left to dry and harden in the sun, before being placed into an open, dry flame for about an hour and a half. Rather than being polished and smooth, Tarahumara Indian pottery is rustic and still made as it has been for generations. Often strips of rawhide are stretched around the piece to add to the simple design.

What a great find. Although the American Express receipt was too faded to read the name of the store, I was able to make out the date, 04/15/ 92. I’ve had this piece of pottery for twenty-eight years and only just now learned more about it! It is now even more special.

Do you have anything you have brought back from your travels that has special meaning to you?

During a visit to Sedona, Arizona, a few years ago, my daughter and I were intrigued by the horsehair pottery we saw in the wonderful shops there. My potter daughter decided to create some of this pottery herself while I was visiting her last fall. I was privileged to watch this fascinating process. The four pieces turned out well. Here are some pictures of her creating horsehair pottery.

Carefully removing the pot from the kiln
And placing it on a cement slab
Applying the fine horsehair to the hot piece of pottery

Horsehair pottery is pottery that incorporates hair from the manes and tails of horses into its design. The process of creating horsehair pottery involves applying strands of hair to the surface of a hot clay pot that has just been removed from the kiln. The hair carbonizes, leaving random patterns in the pot’s surface. Horsehair makes great patterns because of its coarseness and length. Tail hair is thicker, so it leaves bolder patterns, and finer mane hair produces more subtle lines.

Every pot created using this pottery technique is unique. Many artists add other design features to the horsehair pots they create. Some artists use the same technique with dog or cat hair. For instance, my daughter has used the pet’s hair on urns she has created to hold a dear deceased pet’s ashes.  

The above information is based on information from this website. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-horsehair-pottery. Check it out to learn more.

Adding more hair
All four vases finished
Each one unique
The finished pieces after waxing

All the pictures were taken by me, the unofficial photographer, except the last picture taken by madmudslinger

For more of my daughter’s work check out her website www.madmudslinger.com

Follow her on Instagram where she posts many pictures of her work https://www.instagram.com/madmudslinger/

Have you seen or heard of horsehair pottery before?

Copyright © 2020 darlenefoster.wordpress.com – All rights reserved

My talented daughter lives on the beautiful west coast of Canada where she makes pottery and communes with nature.

Here are a couple of examples of her pottery.

More of her pottery can be viewed on her website https://madmudslinger.com/

She recently had an opportunity recently to observe first hand an Eagle family. She sent me pictures of this amazing nest where the Eagle parents are raising their adorable Eaglet. This is what she had to say about the youngster –

“It’s so cute, ever since he’s been big enough he peaks his head over the side while waiting for his parents to come back with food. Interesting that only one hatched this year.”

She also included some information about the nest.

“The nest has been there for years, maybe decades, but 2 years ago a series of storms crashed it to the ground. The site was abandoned until last year when the Eagle couple decided to rebuild. Building is a lot of work, it went into the season so they waited until this year to hatch another family. It’s very exciting. A celebration!”

“An Eagle nest weighs one ton and a VW Beetle can fit inside it. The adult wingspan is 8 feet so they need some room with all the comings and goings.”

She is fortunate to be able to witness this marvel of nature. I’m so happy she shared it with me.

Have you ever had a chance to view wild animals in nature?

Every year for three days at the beginning of February, the city of Orihuela, Spain transforms itself into a medieval town complete with market stalls, soldiers, street entertainers and food cooked over open flames. The Moors and the Christians are both represented as at one time they lived side by side in this area. This year a friend and I took the twenty-minute bus ride to the city to partake in this fun event. Here are a few pictures. Enjoy!

Our first stop was at a Moorish tea tent, to partake in perfect mint tea and delicious baklava. We even got to keep the tea glass as a souvenier.

I got to pet a camel! Those of you who have read Amanda in Arabia, know how much I love camels.

We watched artisans at work, such as this potter

And this sculpture

And this baker making buns in a medieval oven!

Displays of sturdy ovenware for sale

and colourful graters, perfect for grating garlic, ginger, tomatoes and more

Street entertainers were spotted everywhere.

Medieval musicians

and dancers wound their way through the streets as in days of old.

Even a troll

and other scary woodland creatures

Adults dressed up in their finery

And children got to be a king for a day!

How would you like to buy a suit of armour?

We stopped for lunch at a charming little restaurant frequented by the entertainers!

There were plenty of food stalls with fresh produce

waiting to be cooked over the hot coals, resulting in paella and other mouthwatering dishes

We decided not to have soup with balls.


A handsome Bedouin poses for us by his tent

To catch the spirit of the day, watch the video I took while there. You might feel like you have gone back in time like I did.

DSCN1801We had one rainy day in Paris, the trains were on strike and the traffic horrible. So we decided not to go downtown. Since the Ceramics Museum was nearby, we choose to visit it instead. I love ceramics of all sorts, my daughter is a potter, after all. It was a good decision.

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The elegant entrance into the French Museum of Ceramics

Located in Sèvres, a suburb of Paris well known for producing fine ceramics, the museum is housed in a building built in 1876 on the site of a ceramics factory which is still in operation. The museum was originally created in 1824  by Alexandre Brongniart who’s statue stands in front of the building. It was later moved to the current location.

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The museum contains one of the world’s largest collection of ceramics representing many countries, periods and techniques. I was fascinated by all categories of ceramics (pottery, faience, stoneware, porcelain, as well as enamels, stained glass windows and glass) from various cultures and time periods well displayed in the many rooms. Here are some of my favourite pieces.

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Don’t you just love the face on this item from Germany?

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I couldn’t help but admire this vase decorated with dogs, cats, and rabbits.

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A fabulous wall of ceramic plates

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This was one of my favourite pieces. I love the colours.

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And not just because it matched my nail polish perfectly!!

The rain doesn’t ruin your plans, it just gives you an opportunity to do or see something you hadn’t planned!!

I have mentioned my talented potter daughter previously. I am so proud of her as she continues to grow and create fabulous art. Recently she has been featured in a glossy magazine from the UK called Art Reveal 

In the article she states, I’m privileged to participate in the cycle of handmade artifacts.

Here is the link to the complete article.

https://issuu.com/artrevealmagazine/docs/39/42

If you get a chance to read it, you will see she is not only a talented artist, she is also very articulate.

Following are a few of her recent pieces.

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Susa, wood-fired stoneware

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Ocean Momma

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Amphora

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Raku Shake Basket

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Rhythm of the Dance

To see more of her work, check out her website. https://madmudslinger.com/

She will ship anywhere in the world!!

To see your children doing what they love and doing it well is the best reward for a parent. I couldn’t be more proud.

I spent some fabulous days with my talented daughter when I was back in Canada last fall. I´ve written about her and her pottery here and here. She is doing well and has recently had her pottery on display at numerous galleries in Vancouver. Here is one piece that was on display and sold. Isn’t it adorable? You can see more of her one of a kind pottery on her website which she updates regularly. She also ships all over the world.

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She asked me to deliver some pottery ordered by a friend in Calgary since I was going there. She mentioned my Christmas gift would be waiting for me when I got there. I transported the package from Vancouver to Medicine Hat and then on to Calgary with the same care I would give a newborn. I´m happy to report it arrived safely and the owner of the pottery was very pleased with her purchase. This is what was in the box.

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A goddess incense burner and covered mug.

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Note the goddess handle on the mug.

Her friend then handed me my package. In it was a Creative Goddess, made by my daughter’s friend.

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Along with it came a scroll with these words-

Creative Goddess was lovingly created specially for you. She has an uplifting energy, that encourages creativity and a calm mind. She is associated with the Crown Chakra, representing pure thought and connection with infinite consciousness. Deep Spiritual Understanding. She is connected to mother goddess, fertility and womb. Representing the way the universe would evolve and constantly change. bringing an awareness of being a part of a whole. She also helps one on their spiritual journey, direction and progress. She is adorned with a Clear Quartz Crystal. This special stone is the supreme gift of Mother Earth. Clear Quartz also amplifies whatever energy or intent is programmed into it. This may accelerate the fulfillment of one’s prayer, intensify healing, spiritual growth and manifestation of a goal.

What a special Christmas gift! I love my Creative Goddess and am happy she is here with me in Spain.

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The Creative Goddess with pieces of Marcelle’s pottery

 

It just so happens that my daughter’s childhood friend, Gillian, is the daughter of my good friend. I have known Gill since she was six and have watched her grow into a special woman and an exceptional mother. Here are some samples of her awesome felt work.

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Check out Gill’s website for more about her and the amazing work she does.

Follow both artists on Instagram

gillianwhite11 Magick Weaver • Soul Worker • Healer • Priestess • Fiber Artist • Ritualist • Intuitive www.gillian-white.com

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madmudslinger  Ceramic creations from a quiet place in the forest. Shop the online gallery www.madmudslinger.com

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I am proud of these young women who follow their passion, embrace a peaceful life and create from the heart. I consider myself lucky to have these creative goddesses in my life. 

We read in the local paper about an artisans market, in a small town not much more than an hour away from where we live. Since we both love markets and small Spanish villages, we decided to take a drive and check it out. Alcalali proved to be a delightful, traditional Mediterranean village including original dry stone walls. The name, Alcalali, is an Arabic word meaning place where pots were made.

Pottery in the place were pottery is made with the old dry stone wall behind

Pottery in the place where pots were made, with original dry stone wall behind

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Pottery faces

The market was small but unique in that everything sold had to be hand made and by the person manning the stall. Local potters, weavers, wood carvers, almond candy makers, jewellers, leather and iron workers, and ladies who make lace were willing to chat and demonstrate their work. Some even gave lessons to the children. Throughout the displays, old fashioned table games and traditional delicacies could be found.

Wood carver

Wood carver at work

Lace makers

Traditional lace makers

Mortar and pestle to mash sugar, almonds, zest of lemon and cinnamon for making almond candy called turron

Mortar and pestle to mash sugar, almonds, zest of lemon and cinnamon to make delicious almond candy called turron

Pottery lesson

Pottery lesson

Playing a medieval game

Playing a medieval table game

In the centre of the village, a medieval tower built in the fourteenth century served as a watchtower and stronghold to protect the town from pirates and robbers that frequently attacked the village. It is now a museum with incredible views of the town and surrounding valley from the top floor. What I found very interesting was the medieval graffiti on the walls, most of it drawings of ships and weapons. Since Alcalali is an inland village, historians think the drawings were made by sailors imprisoned in the tower at one time.

The village church from the tower

The village church from the tower

View of the town and valley

View of the town and valley from the tower

Roofs from the tower window

Clay roofs from the tower window

Ancient graffiti

Ancient graffiti possibly drawn by prisoners

Alcalali is in an agricultural area, well known for its olive, grape, citrus fruit and almond production. The Arabs occupied the area for over five centuries and were masters in utilising the fertile ground of red clay, developing a thriving agricultural base. Many houses still have the large doors that allowed animals and carts inside, with rings in the entrance to tie up the mules. We enjoyed a visit to the old oil mill that has been turned into a museum displaying some of the original machinery for making olive oil,wine and raisins.  Pictures of when the mill was in operation helped to explain the process.

Museum in the old oil mill

Museum in the old oil mill

Olive picking tools

Olive picking tools used to knock the olives from the tree

Typical Alalali street

Typical Alcalali street including a house with large doors to allow animals and carts inside in the old days

Original dry stone wall

Original dry stone wall

No visit to a traditional Spanish village would be complete without sampling some of the local tapas in a friendly bar, which is just what we did before heading home. Another great day!

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I have written about my wonderful potter daughter here before. She doesn’t live very far from me but since her home is on a small gulf island, it requires  two ferries and a boat to get to her place. Total driving, waiting and sailing time is about 5 hours one way. I don’t get to visit her often but when I do it is always worth it. This recent weekend between Christmas and New Year I made the trip and had so much fun. It’s always an adventure but once there, it is so relaxing, away from the constant busyness of my life. She always makes sure I am well fed and comfortable. I’m not allowed to lift a finger. Here are a few pictures of the weekend.

Daughter with 18 year old grandcat Barnsworth

Daughter with 18 year old grandcat Barnsworth

Cookbook Christmas gift that matches her kitchen

Cookbook Christmas gift that matches her kitchen

Daughter at home on her island

Daughter at home on her island

Pottery studio

The pottery studio where she creates

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Pottery from recent firing

Pottery from recent firing

Awesome pottery

More awesome pottery

I am so lucky, my daughter has created a safe haven for me to escape to any time.  Spending time with her is always a treat. Great conversations, time to reflect and lots of love.

A walk on her property

Going for a walk on her property

Where do you go to escape?

We had a quiet restful Christmas Day at our house, which was itself a welcome gift. On Boxing Day I travelled by ferry to Vancouver Island to meet my daughter in Nanaimo.  We had a wonderful time relaxing in a cozy coffee shop, visiting and exchanging gifts.

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I brought Flat Ruthie along as she had never been to Nanaimo. She had heard about the famous Nanaimo bars though. Marcelle and Ruthie became fast friends, as I knew they would. Ruthie was taken with Marcelle’s Painted Pony Handbag.

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She was also intrigued with the Matcha Latte Marcelle ordered.  I had a vanilla almond latte which was also very good

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You may have read about my daughter the potter on previous posts and how proud I am of her:

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/alice-in-wonderland/

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/the-mad-mudslinger/

I love all the pottery she has given me over the years but the urn she gave me this Christmas is totally amazing. As you can see, Flat Ruthie likes it too.

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Nanaimo has many wonderful bookstores so we dropped in at a used bookstore near the coffee shop. Marcelle bought three books on Feng Shui and I found one I couldn’t resist. Flat Ruthie and I had fun looking through it on the ferry ride home.

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 Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator. Enjoy!

Taken from the City of Nanaimo’s website

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I hope you all had a wonderful Boxing Day as well!

 


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