This year, I have made an effort to buy thoughtful holiday gifts that are either handmade or support good causes. Blogging has been a wonderful benefit to connect with artisans I might not have otherwise known about. Two, really fun packages arrived last week. First, my friend Marjorie of Cowgirl Goods helped me to purchase these beautiful felted sculptures I Blogged about this weekend. Aren’t they wonderful?! When I first saw felted goats on Marjorie’s Blog I knew immediately who I wanted to give them to for Christmas (I can't say who because she reads my Blog)! I actually had them wrapped up but UNwrapped them because so many of the fiber artists from Art Coffee wanted to see them. The artist who makes them is Marilyn Pratt from Maine and she is 80 years old. Marjorie told me that Marilyn’s booth at this weekend's Women’s Holiday Art Sale in Berwick Maine, was swamped with customers clamoring for her felted sculptures. Lucky for me Marjorie was my long distance personal shopper. The coolest part of all this is that the wool on the sculptures comes mainly from one of Marjorie’s Navajo Churo Sheep named Vera!
The second special package that arrived was from Julia at Henhouse Pottery. I knew from following her Blog that Julia and her family lived on an acre and a half in a cool 100-year old house with a bunch of animals, including thousands of bees. What I also learned was that Julia harvests and sells their All Natural honey they collect from their hives under the name Wilkins Honey. My golden gifts arrived with a beautiful, full color card describing their love of bees and how they get their honey. “We are small, non-commercial beekeepers who keep bees because we love them and care about preserving the honey bee population in Utah. Our bee’s artisan honey is a wonderful by-product of our symbiotic and respectful relationship with our insects, and we are delighted to be able to share it with you.” Thank you Julia for sharing your lifestyle, your process and your harvest, because now I have 5 (well, actually 4, because we opened a honey bear up in Girdwood to have on our fresh, hot biscuits!) more wonderful gifts to give and share!
And speaking of sharing… Sophia’s Dad is one smart cookie! Jim suggested that I Google the names of the mystery glazes and see if any of them pop up. And guess what?! They ALL did, exactly as they are named on the buckets! I found them listed on Sheffield Pottery’s web site. So far it appears that this group of glazes are “Cone 6 Opulence Glazes.” I don’t think I can use my test tiles (?) on this cone 6 glaze because they were only bisque fired at only ^ 04. Probably just as well because I’m also going to take Meredith and Ang’s advice and switch to a ^6, higher firing clay for my sculpture work. Thanks potters for all your sound and expert advice!