Hi everyone

I mentioned in my previous post that I had been busy behind the scenes recently with various projects, not least of which has been a joint venture between myself and Alex of  http://www.zayin-studio.com

Alex contacted me originally last year and asked if I would be able to make some planters to fit wooden stands he was intending to make.  The original size we were aiming for required 3 kilos of clay, which I must admit I struggled with……I know its all down to technique not strength, but even after taking a lesson from a fellow potter (James at http://www.saltydogpotterystudio.co.uk), I came to the conclusion that it was arthritis in my hands and not quite having the knack for throwing large pieces which was preventing me from meeting the brief, so I sadly contacted Alex and said I would not be able to work with him on this project.

A year or so later I heard from Alex again, and this time he suggested perhaps I could see what was the largest pot size I could comfortably throw and then he would adapt his wooden stands to fit.  I don’t really know whether my technique has improved or my hands are stronger but to my delight I found I could easily throw 2.5 kilos of clay (so not far off the original amount!) and create 1L size planters.  I made a few sample pots in a couple of stoneware clays to test out the glazes and we decided on Really Good Stoneware, which is I think my favourite clay to use so far.

Large, thick walled pots take an age to dry and particularly when you’re trying to achieve this during February which turned out to be exceptionally wet, with March weather not helping hugely either.  Anyway, once I started firing the first few, that helped the others to dry out and I was able to meet the deadline (just!).  Meanwhile Alex was making the stands based on the sample planters; he aims to work entirely from locally sourced hardwoods, his work is all hand crafted, and finished with natural oils such as raw linseed oil or tung oil to avoid harsh chemicals.  I love that he has created stands with the outside curved and the inside straight – I wasn’t expecting that, but I think the shapes of both planter and stand work really well together – I couldn’t be more delighted to be honest.  Each planter is stamped with “zayin studios” logo and is glazed in a my oatmeal glaze then dipped in either a smoky blue or soft green glaze.

Below are a few photos of our work at the finished stage just waiting to be taken out into the big wide world!……as a group they show two working studios with the planters and stands totally un-posed, emerging from their creative process – I hope you like them as much as I do.

Thank you for reading, and if you are interested in finding out more please do contact Alex at http://www.zayin-studio.com

Yvonne x