Thursday, 6 January 2011

Work in progress and thinking about snow



I've come back from Wootton smelling of damp snow and wood smoke and feeling oddly disorientated to be in the city again. Only five days there with mum over New Year, but the persistent snow and fog made it feel like Narnia. Wootton is the village I grew up in. It's a about 10 miles north-west of Oxford on the edge of the Cotswolds. The land is flat coming out of Oxford to Woodstock, then, just as you leave Woodstock, the first hill starts. Wootton is a small village which sort of flows down a hill side, church at the top and 'the big house' and the school and the shop and what was a pub and so on and then it heads down hill to the river Glyme and goes over a bridge then up a steep path the other side is mum's house. The picture above with the gateway and the foggy snow leading down to the river is the view from her garden; the gate is close to the house. It's isolated. She lives on her own since dad died and when snow comes, it can be difficult to get to the house.
So it's just a bit too easy to get sucked into a haze of village and field and river and snow and fog and forget everything else, particularly since I've known it since the day I was born - February 1962, one of the coldest winters on record.
So, on to recently completed work, part 1 we could say. I'll start with the bowls which I've called 'Shabe Yalda,' the Iranian Winter Solstice, a series of bowls continuing the 'Ab Lambu' theme because, at this time, Iranians celebrate with pomegranates and water melon. The bowls I made this time just made me think of Shab e yalda, because I finished them on yalda night and because the snow had come and, by coincidence, I had wanted to create a pomegranates in snow feel so gave them all a snowy white tin glaze exterior. Not quite by coincidence: a few years ago I photographed pomegranates in snow and I always had wanted to make something that recalled that image. I also well remember eating pomegranates in Abadeh, in Western Iran, with friends just as snow was falling. So, here there they are, above the snow.
I'll sign this post off now and continue with a new one for the four more new vases which are the beginning of new work.

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