Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tea and Bread

Yesterday it was 56 F. in the afternoon.  It was so nice to work in my studio without waiting for everything to warm up. Today at 7 A.M. it was 8F.  with wind chill....ah the benefits of a good wood stove in the house!  The sun is still cold but shining brightly into my studio.  I have the heater on so I should be able to work in an hour or so.

I have started a project that has been rattling around in my brain.  I am challenging myself to handbuild a teapot a week.  Most of my teapots are thrown, but last summer or so there was this post in Ceramic Arts Daily; Handbuilt Teapots.  I made a couple of teapots and put the idea aside.  Now, in winter, when I need something to explore and give me a January kick in the seat of the pants I have been thinking about doing a series.

This one is still in its early stage.  I need to clean it up a bit and put a knob on the lid.  The neat thing about working this quickly is that it can become very gestural.

I started it over a bowl, added the spout, handle and cut the lid; then I took it out of the form and added the bottom.  I didn't quite do it in half an hour, but I came close!  I was also doing laundry!  (Always there seems to be laundry to do!)

I was thinking about glazing them and doing a once fire.  On second thought I've rejected that idea.  Some of my best designs have come from having a group of pots to consider.  I do like the idea of a family of terra cotta teapots waiting for glaze.

I'm not sure that I will manage a full year of fifty-two teapots.  It would be great if I could end up with such a result, but I have to consider that my studio may be too cold to work in, or life getting in the way, or being drawn down a different path to explore.  The idea is to keep making and not beat myself up if I don't meet my stated goal.  It's an enjoyable clay experience not boot camp!

Before Christmas I started making small clocks.  This one is about seven inches across.  The flowers are waxed with resist.  I have been doing a sponge style pattern for background.  The plain backgrounds weren't doing it for me anymore!  This still need the numbers added.  I want to figure our a simple stand so they can either be wall mounted or placed on a table.

I have been baking my Cuban Bread or Italian Feather Bread lately.  They are quick and tasty, but I wanted to do another slow rise loaf.  I made my started with 1 Cup White Whole Wheat and 1 Cup APB White Flour;  1 Tbsp. honey; 1/4 tsp dry yeast and 2 Cups water.  I mixed it all together and let it sit for a couple of days, stirring it down occasionally.  I used half of it with another 1/2 tsp yeast and 2 Cups Water.  I made a soft dough that I let rise over a day or so.  I folded the dough on itself every time it got big.  The final rising was in a large warm bowl in a cotton napkin dusted with oat flour.  I preheated the oven to 450 F. with my cast iron dutch oven in it.  I quickly greased the pan, dumped the bread in and covered it.  I reduced the heat to 400 and did not disturb it for about forty minutes.  I checked the temp and continued to bake until the interior temp of the loaf was 220F.  I let it cool for half an hour before cutting it.  I probably should have waited longer but I am a notorious heel stealer!

It's a tasty loaf which I will probably do again.

Enjoy the day with hot (or cold for those of you south of the equator) drink and stay warm (or cool)

As always, thanks for stopping by...............*s*


  1. tea and bread, is there anything better.
    Well, coffee and chocolate come to mind.....
    favorite friday's or Saturday's child...

    1. Hi Meredith...It's a time for baking comfy food. I like Saturday's Child.

  2. I wrote this post about the GORGEOUS zisha teapots, which includes a YouTube video you might like.

    Oh, and you can send some of that bread my way whenever you like! It looks delish! :D

    1. Hi Shellhawk....Thanks, this is a great post!
      Wouldn't it be nice if 3-D printers could actually print food?

    2. I think they're working on that! LOL

  3. I came here to get your recipe for cuban bread as it seems like a great day to have the oven on for a while. Now I find this new bread...hhmmm.

    1. Hi Lori...Cuban bread is my stand-by because it's so fast and tasty. These slow rise breads take several days.

  4. Wow! One teapot a week!
    Lovely flower clock. A bit Art Nouveau?
    Stay warm! : )

    1. Hi Midori.....As you can tell Art Nouveau is a great influence on me.
      Stay Dry!

  5. Hi Suzi,

    Yes, always the laundry and cooking that needs to be done, the Cuban loaf looks yummy.
    Love the clock and your teapot is fun.
    Stay warm and enjoy the week

    1. Hi Carolyn.....Thanks; I always enjoy making teapots. My ideas are fermenting!
      Stay cool!

  6. OH GOSH the bread is lovely! Funny, i love teapots so much, just glazed 2 and plunked them into the kiln for firing :)


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