Joy Bridy



Slug Traps

Soup & Refridgerator Ware

Water Bottle

Tile Coaster

Bird Feeder

Jack Troy Serving Bowl

Morning Coffee Mug

Vessels in Use

April 27, 2010: What's a good day of work without a thermos and mug? This little cup by Linda Christianson of Minnesota has been my working pal as I lay bricks. Linda is the first potter I met who so eloquently described building her kiln by herself, brick by brick, in the Minnesota Winters, and that moment was the first time that I ever imagined building a kiln by myself. Rather than a big work party for weeks, rather than a steady stream of guest builders, I could imagine laying each brick, myself. Amazingly, I've laid many bricks solo, just me and the birds, and this little lightning cup of coffee.


Thank you, Linda.

Slug traps:

April 11, 2010: Yep, it's that time of year again...slugs. The spinach from last fall is tasty and fresh, the kale has regained it's strength, and the only thing that slugs love more than kale and spinach is beer. Cheap beer, in small bowls with smooth rims, sunk down into the soil to make their plunge easy and guaranteed. There were 15 slugs the first night! (Yes, that's a dandelion in the garden, just on the bottom right corner.)

The french sorrel even gets a fair amount of slugs, but not with the beer bowls. Personally, I think it's a great way to go...drowning in beer.


Soup & Refridgerator-Ware:

March 23, 2010: This soup, from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook, is the best soup I've made in ages...and easy, too! Served up in a Jack Troy bowl, glazed and fired in the Juniata College old gas kiln, the soup looks comforting and inviting topped with a bit of salsa (red and yellow onions, jalapeno, cilantro, lime), and eaten just slightly cooler than boiling....mmmmm. These rainy cool spring days are perfect for soup dinner.

After dinner, the soup moves into the fridge (yes, this is a photo of the inside of my refridgerator), where the non-plastic refridgerator-ware reigns. The metal ware has been in use since the early 90's. The flying saucer shaped bowl with lid was made by Jody Johnstone, who was generous in letting me fire her wood kiln with her crew in May of 2006.

Her lidded bowl is the inspiration for the others behind it, which I make with the intention to stack and store. The feeling behind them is to throw as if the piece was disposable...thrown and dried on bats, with as little fuss as possible...but the wood fire is so kind to simple forms, they end up looking quite lovely. Of all the refridgerator-ware in the cupboard, these are in use the most.

Water Bottle:

March 10, 2010: Sunshine, melting snow, nesting birds....that means back to work on the kiln, and what better break gauge is there than a water bottle? For the past two years, I've been carrying this wood fired bottle everywhere I go, from the grocery to beekeeping class, and it's truly a steadfast friend. I know it's time to take a walk to the house when it's empty, and even take a moment to watch the birds, check for new blooming crocus (croci, crocuses?), and stretch.

While ceramic jugs used to be the norm, nowadays it's still plastic. Science and our consciences are telling us that plastic is not so good, from leaching to unnecessary waste, so why not return to the old standard!

My favorite water bottles (yes, I have more than one) have necks that used wine corks fit in perfectly. And to my surprise, ceramic does keep it cooler longer, at least in the shade...

(the other side of the bottle)

Tile Coaster:

March 3, 2010: Long a favorite, tiles as coasters are found throughout the house and studio. This tile recently came in from a long-lost box of Art Nouveau inspired pieces hand carved while working at the Juniata College Pot Shop. As a studio tech, I had the whole shebang at my fingertips, and loved to explore tedious techniques, such as hand carving individual tiles. I still make a series or so each year, but have yet to take the step to make molds and produce in series.

Located on my bedside stand, next to my trusty lamp and views of the garden, my water glass is quite at home. As Zora Neale Hurston taught me, I keep a glass of water by the bed at night so my restless soul won't wander.

I've found that the trick to enjoying them is to put felt feet, the thick kind, which I get either at the local hardware store, or if they don't carry them, Home Depot. They keep the furniture truly protected, which is the point, eh? Function first.....but the wood fired surface, crunchy clay, and large shell marks sure do make me smile in the morning.


Bird Feeder:

February 18, 2010: It's cold out there! The neighborhood birds have been so much happier since I made it to the feed store for seeds and filled these handmade birdfeeders. One by the studio, one by the house...and one I still can't reach due to deep snow. Behind the feeder you can see the kiln and kiln shed, sitting on hold through this winter weather, but just in sight when I go out for wood to stoke the studio stove. Even the brick saw seems quiet and meditative nowadays...

The lovely sunset and Tibetan prayer flags dancing in the breeze...these quiet moments after a day of work are worth the cold fingers and toes.

The single perch of the feeder seems to lead to more "civilized" behaviors among the hungry masses. Indeed, the crazy squirrel does shimmy along the wire, hang by her/his toes, and eat a bit now and then, but at least they take turns. My favorites are the mellow junkos that sit on the ground, black with white belly, taking their catch from the droppings on the ground. I'm sure they don't mind the squirrel making a bit of a mess.

And the titmouse gives a demo....gotcha! This feeder in front of the house sees more action, as it is part of a group of feeders.

Each of these birdhouses has been thrown on the wheel as a closed form, the opening cut when they're a little stiffer, and a handle and perch added at leather hard. The clay is Highwater's Red Rocks, and they've been fired to cone 6 in my electric kiln. I love the dark clay body with the crisp white glaze, from the mottled nepheline-syenite-based surface complexity, to the breaking on sharp edges. The green is a little splash of Spearmint, cool and crisp.

Jack Troy Serving Bowl:

February 11, 2010: With a week of heavy snow, this bowl revealed itself slowly, as the grapefruit stash dwindled down to only two this morning. I've been using this bowl for years, and from my memory, it came from Jack as payment for helping at one of his home sales in Pennsylvania. His sales are a wonderful way to spend an autumn day, usually with good weather luck, and lots of excited folks to visit with.

While Jack is best know for his wood fired pottery, this piece was fired in the Juniata College gas kiln, and is signed and dated on the back, Jack Troy, Huntingdon PA, August 2002. It's large enough to hold most of the fruit and bread for the week, and, especially in the summer, is hard to find under the bounty. Yet it always makes me smile when I get a glimpse of the glazed surface, mountains from afar, earth patterns from above, melted chocolate.....

Thanks to daniell for taking a moment to model the bowl in the waning sun of our kitchen.....

Morning Coffee Mug:


February 2, 2010: I've realized lately how uncommon it may be that my kitchen is stocked with handmade pottery, both made by me and others. This simple brainflash has brought about these posts, which I've seen done by others in one way or another, to show you the vessels in my home that are beloved, used every day, sometimes ordinary, sometimes exraordinary, mostly handmade, mostly clay.

To start, it seems appropriate to show my morning coffee mug, at least of the last few weeks. Morning mugs change fairly regularly, without warning. But this one began it's life as a lump of Highwater's Hestia clay, came about on the wheel in my studio, then headed to a firing in West Virginia, and while I made it, the surface is a rare treat. It fell off of a shelf into the salt-stoking chamber of a split bourry box wood kiln, and survived to tell about it.

So, the gold and brown that you see are residual ash gloms, and the grey background is very heavy salt on the clay body. There is a subtle surface pattern, made by wax erosion techniques, which is not visible at all here...but feels nice to the touch.