The Right Mix

It’s funny how an entire week can go by and I’ll have a difficult time recalling much of what went on but my memory of the pots I made is always in tact. Throwing pots is such a release for me and I’m so grateful for every minute I find to have my hands in clay. This week’s project was large mixing bowls, at the recommendation of a friend who owns a cheese shop in Stonington, CT, called Cheese Boro Whey. I had just dropped some pots off for her to sell in her shop and she mentioned her customers were asking for mixing bowls. I’m always excited when someone suggests a particular type of vessel because it takes the pressure off to go into the week setting my intention towards particular forms. I thought about my favorite mixing bowl (to clarify it’s my ONLY mixing bowl) and all the ways I use it. (and if you read all the way to the end I've included a recipe I mix up in my bowl. )throwingbowl
  • Mixing pancake batter
  • Making cookies
  • Serving Salad
  • Combining granola
  • Eating popcorn (the bigger the bowl the more popcorn!)
  • Mixing ingredients for just about anything……..
Mixing bowls are really a vital part to any good kitchen. The deeper the bowl, the easier it is to mix ingredients without having them spill out and the best part about pottery is its ALWAYS easy to clean!

When I sit down to create a number of the same type of form, my primary goal is never to make them look identical. (I’m NOT a production potter) Each bowl is thrown with between 6 and 8lbs of clay (for you inquiring potters out there!) It’s been a while since I’ve thrown any large forms and I’m always surprised when the clay responds with such fluidity that it feels somewhat easy. I threw about 7 successful bowls in a row before shooting this first time lapse video. Watch closely……

The second you get a little too confident with a piece of clay, it always provides you with what I like to call a quick ‘ego-check’. We’ve all heard the saying “you learn more from failures than from successes” and they ARE words to live by, but I try to use my work with clay as a ‘practice’ for life. When I sit down with intention of making a large mixing bowl and suddenly something goes awry, my instinct is not to try to SAVE what I know is a dying piece of clay, but rather to pick up a new piece and move on as quickly as possible. The more you practice, the more you’re tested and the more you are tested the more you learn to continue moving forward rather than to stand in indecision and simply endure.

The process of making something functional out of a lump of raw clay is always awe-inspiring. I encourage my pottery students to quickly adopt the mantra “the joy is in the journey” so that they embrace the process of making work rather than any outcome. I think working with clay keeps me humble. (I’m setting myself up for potential comments with THAT statement!) The medium seems to respond to the potter based on their disposition in the moment. If my mind is elsewhere, the quality of work suffers the consequences. Fortunately the day I spent trimming and finishing the mixing bowls, things flowed nicely as you can see in this next time lapse video......

finished bowl_edited-1 Throwing good pots is a practice of presence and being present allows me to connect with the clay in a way that feels more like a conversation with a friend. So, for me, whether I’m sitting down to make good pots, or preparing to cook a delicious vegan meal, it’s about finding the right mix of presence, intention, creativity and humility. No matter what, I'm doing what I love and I can't complain about that!

Check out my instagram account to see updates on how these bowls come through the drying, firing and glazing processes! In the mean time, here's my favorite late night snack!

Popcorn the VEGAN way

popcorn 1/3 cup organic popcorn

2 Tbl Coconut Oil

Nutitional Yeast (Red Star is the company I search for and I like the fine flakes for popcorn)

Garlic Salt

Melt the coconut oil in a large non-stick pot. Add the popcorn and tilt the pot until the kernels are coated, then place the lid on the pot and be patient. I cook on a gas stove but have also used this method on a glass top electric stove and it works just fine. Now just LISTEN...... eventually you will hear the popping begin and when it slows, simply turn off the heat and take the pot off the burner. Wait a moment for any lagging poppers because they'll pop right out of the pot if you remove the lid right away!  Pour the popcorn into your favorite large mixing bowl (preferably pottery!) and sprinkle with nutri-yeast and garlic salt, tossing to combine. The yeast gives it a savory 'cheesy' flavor AND it's full of B vitamins!  Now sit your butt on the couch with your loved ones and crunch away!