Blue and White, Faceted, Footed Urns

The blue and white faceted, footed urns are out of the kiln! (See earlier post, New Urns for 2017 here.)  The blue came out as I had hoped it would… the glaze breaking a crisp white like I had imagined. As a potter you need to have some faith that things are going to work out when you give it over to the kiln firing. There is quite a gap from making the piece to the finished outcome weeks later. Nothing is immediate in pottery. We make our work, then let it dry a couple of weeks before it can go in the kiln for the bisque and glaze firings. Even when we know our glazes well, things can change when put on a new form. It is a happy event when you open up a warm kiln and see a piece just as you hoped it would turn out!

faceted footed urns, blue keepsake LucyFagella.com

The white faceted, footed urns also came out as I had hoped. I will be adding both of these new urns to my line of cremation urns for 2017. These urns will be available soon on my shop page here.

faceted, footed urns, white keepsake LucyFagella.com

 

Biodegradable Clay Urns

New biodegradable clay urns are being made in the pottery studio this past month.

I am very excited about this new series of biodegradable clay urns! I only make these urns about once a year, as it requires a good deal of space and time. I use paints, paper, recycled paper pulp and reclaimed porcelain clay. The studio gets taken over by this process!

I began making biodegradable clay urns in 2009, mainly for environmental reasons. I wanted to make something that did not require the use of fossil fuels. Firing kilns takes lots of electricity, or other fossil fuels such as gas, or wood. I do the best I can in the studio to recycle, and re-use clay, water, and packing materials. I purposely fire a to mid range temperature, and do a very low bisque firing to save electricity. The past couple of years the environmentally forward thinking town of Greenfield, MA where I live built a very large solar farm, which we get most of our electricity from… I am very happy about that!

As I experimented over the the years with nature inspired biodegradable urns, I found myself leaning more and more towards color and pattern in these urns. You can see some of the older urns on my old WordPress blog here.

Many of my older biodegradable urns were a nod to quilt making. Before I had children I fell in love with quilt making. Between the kids and working full time as a potter there was no time for sewing. I tried getting back to it as the kids went off to college, but after working a full day making pots, or glazing pots, my fingers were way too tired to hold a needle. So these quilt like urns are my answer for my need to quilt. I find my inspiration mainly in older quilts and Islamic patterns. These can be found on my Pinterest board here.

The new series of quilt inspired urns are different from the older ones. For the first time in the eight years of making biodegradable urns, I am throwing the urns on the potters wheel. I always just assumed you could not throw clay mixed with lots of paper. I was wrong, you can… it’s not easy though!

Here are a few photos of new the series of biodegradable clay and paper urns that I am working on. They are all in process. They look a little grey in color when they are still wet. After they dry completely the porcelain will turn white, at that point I will rub in beeswax to seal the surface, and give it a slight sheen.

I will be putting these up on my urn shop page in the next week or so. I have some a couple of the older ones listed in my shop here.

biodegradable clay urns LucyFagella.com

biodegradable clay urns Lucy Fagellabiodegradable clay urn Lucy Fagellabiodegradable clay urn LucyFagella.com

Permanence/Impermanence

Impermanence in ceramics… an oxymoron, as potters we strive for permanence.  Pottery is fired to 2300 degrees.  Pottery marks time, it is what we find in archaeological excavations, telling us about cultures from long ago. 

As a potter I hope that my pots will bring a lifetime of enjoyment and use for the people who own them, and some memory of the maker.  ‘Functional’, ‘useful’ and ‘beautiful’ are words I like to hear when it comes to my pottery.  The question I have asked myself the past few years is this:  can I leave my mark, making beautiful, useful, functional pots without them being permanent?  In my biodegradable urns I feel I have achieved this. I am making a piece of art that is only meant to last for a short time, but this short time is of utmost importance… the transition from life to death.  Rituals surrounding death have always included art, masks, body paint, pottery, objects, song and dance, which are meant to transition the person to the afterlife, and help sooth the grieving.  In making these urns I am following these ancient traditions.  I hope that what I create in the urns is a balm for the living, which helps to sooth the grief.