Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ugh!

Ugh!
That is what I thought Indian chiefs said when I was growing up. Ugh! Now I’m not sure whether they are Indians, Native Canadians, First Nation’s  or what.  My apologies for early and present ignorance.
I just bought this pot today. A woman was selling it and thought it worth some big bucks. It was made in 1953 by my Uncle Jimmie. It is important only to me as I know it’s pedigree.
If you wonder sometimes why Pastor Clennell gets his knickers in a knot when people call themselves potters after 3 guild lessons and the establishment of an Etsy account this pot may tell you the real truth and nothing but the truth.
This earthenware clay was dug by hand in Milton, Ontario and brought to Pinecroft in burlap bags. The clay was slaked down and mixed by an electric driven car differential blunger to a thick slip. The slip was then drained through a screen into what looked like row boats where is would be covered with canvas so the pine needles didn’t get in. The clay would freeze over winter and in late March or early April my Uncle Jimmie would lift off the ice and voila there was throwable clay which of course had to be hand wedged.
They fired this earthenware clay to Cone 2 to make it more vitreous. It was fired in an Alpine updraft gas kiln. When the kiln was delivered they had no way of unloading the heavy beast so my uncle and neighbours dug a hole to have the truck back down into. After unloading the kiln  a team of horses pulled the truck out of the hole.
 What is so lovely about this pot is signs of reduction where the copper glaze turned red. This pot was slip cast and the sprig I believe is something Uncle Jimmie brought with him after working at Medicine Hat Potteries in Medicine Hat, Alberta which then became Medalta( short for Medicine Hat, Alberta) .

My aunt and uncle produced 12-15,000 pieces a year for 50 years so the secondary art market value isn’t really high for their work. I got the pot for $20 which is still probably 20 times what they charged. I’m going to sleep with it under my pillow tonight.

3 comments:

smartcat said...

WOW! There is something wonderful in holding a pot and knowing its story.
I hope you have recorded this somewhere else for posterity.
It is so easy to lose our links to the past.

Shirley Clifford said...

I love reading your blogs but this one made me cry. Pioneer spirit of adventure (except for the bit about a truck), do or die energy of survival, community togetherness of one for all and all for one support, and essentially love and passion for making pots out of clay. Thanks for sharing this story and bringing us back to our basic roots.

...dh said...

...quite a cast of characters, Scratch, Pastor Clennell, Uncle Jimmie and L'il-t.