Give me some light

Here is my attempt to replicate a couple of ancient oil lamps. The terra cotta piece inspired me when I saw numerous case-fulls of Romanesque, Byzantine and Etruscan oil lamps at the MET last summer. The oil lamp actually works, though it burns with a very dark smoke. I will perhaps one day try to burn it with olive oil, though I imagine the smoke will be even darker than the generic lamp oil I purchased. The blue piece on the wick is not mine, it came with the wick.


The other lamp is inspired by a Roman/Byzantine piece I saw on the internet while researching some other pieces. I have not yet attempted to light it. I am guessing that a flay wick lays in the spout/trough thing. It seems though that it would produce a wildly unmanageable flame. My lamp is a nearly exact replica of what I found online, but being it is an ancient piece, the original may be missing an important flame suppressing device that is not included with mine.



Everywhere a sign.

My father has indulged me in my Tolkien appreciation. Using a toy he purchased about a year ago, he created out of wood a Prancing Pony sign and a Green Dragon sign from the Lord of the Rings films. These two signs are each put together like a puzzle with one piece fitting inside the other until the entire image is complete. I do not believe the photos do them justice to how intricate and well made they are. The designs themselves are taken from the images posted around the internet, mainly from Weta workshop art and movie props from Lord of the Rings. Each sign is about 11 inches by 17 inches and looks great on our kitchen walls. 

The Prancing Pony mugs are a co-creation by my father and I. The stamp on the mug was created by my father using the same toy he used to create the signs. The stamp is made from acrylic and is itself a little work of art. Each letter is individually cut out and glued to a backing. I throw the form, trim the piece if necessary and then pull and attach the handle. I then roll out a thin piece of clay, dust it with baking powder and stamp the Prancing Pony image into the clay. I attach the stamped clay onto the mug and apply a wash of iron oxide to bring out the detail. Bisque firings and glaze firing follow and lo and behold! a mug from the Prancing Pony. Each mug hold about a pint

I am currently drinking hot tea out of the green mug as I type this.

Prancing Pony sign with mugsGreen Dragon sign with Prancing Pony Mug

Something new

Here is my latest attempt to update and showcase my pottery on this blog. It sometimes feels like a full time job gets in the way of hobbies.

Some of the pieces on the “recent works” page we created when Ada and I were at a 2 week workshop at Penland School of Arts and Crafts this past summer. I was very honored to receive the Antony Swider scholarship to attend. We had a wonderful time learning, seeing, and creating.

Other pieces are a result of my ever increasing geekiness towards the works of author JRR Tolkien and filmmaker Peter Jackson. The Gandalf cups (as my wife and I have come to refer to them) were inspired by the scene in Peter Jackson’s film Fellowship of the Rings where Gandalf rides to Minas Tirith, goes into the dusty archive and does a bit of research on the history of Isildur and the One Ring. In a brief shot, he is seen drinking from a beautifully simple but very functional cup. I liked the simplicity of the form so I have tried my skill at creating a few of them. My wife and I find that they fit quite well to the hand. 

Tall Gandalf cupSmall Gandalf set