Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Enchanted Vessel

This piece will become available October 9, 2012 at 3 PM EST at
This incredible and truly one-of-a-kind pot came to life with the combined effort of all three of our talented potters. The base and lid of this piece are both wheel thrown by master potter Chris Woods and it is an impressive 24 inches tall and 14 inches wide at its widest point. On the base of the pot Chris added a cobblestone effect on the bottom neck and at the top border. He also added this cobblestone pattern on the lid that serves as a platform for our witch trio. It was important that this creation should have special handles that befit the unique theme of the piece. It was decided that a gnarled tree creeping up from the bottom of the base and repeated on the lid was a very appropriate addition. The handles were put in place by Chris with special care and expertise due to this pots substantial size and weight. The trees are misshapen and knotty with intricate carved bark detail.

While Chris was busy with the production of the pot and the overall stability of the applied handles - potter Sherry Ackell was creating the sculpted pieces that would soon adorn the base and lid. For the lid, she sculpted three enchanting and very unique witch sisters that are intent on casting a happy spell. The three stand behind a cauldron that is sitting atop a roaring fire. Sherry has given all three robed garments, peaked witch hats and long stringy hair. The witch on the left is holding a toad, has green eyes, a black hat with yellow buckle, a gaping mouth with sharp teeth and black pointy toed boots. The center witch’s hands are aloft as if casting her spell. She has large hands with long gnarled fingers, prominent black brows, long stringy black hair, a black robed garment, a black hat with yellow buckle, warts, a pointy chin and two teeth. Her feet, in black pointy boots are just visible behind the cauldron. The third witch, on the right, has a black hat with yellow buckle, long stringy dark hair, pointy toed boots and she is holding a snake that is painted yellow and green. She is by far our favorite due to her incredibly expressive face. She has mesmerizing eyes, droopy and heavily jowled cheeks, a recessive and weak chin and a prominent nose with an apparent split top lip jutting out underneath. This sister has somehow managed to keep most of her teeth. Behind the sisters you will find the familiar black cat and two sculpted pumpkins. Chris Woods added slip decorated details using spice yellow, apple green and dark manganese. A spell that has been slip decorated on the front of the lid reads – (Double, double, toil and trouble, Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. Fillet of a fenny snake, in the cauldron boil and bake) – a snake has been added at the close of the spell. A spell that has been slip decorated on the back side of the lid reads – (Eye of newt and toe of frog. Wool of bat, and tongue of dog. Adder’s fork, and blind worm’s sting. Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing) – a lizard has been added at the close of the spell.

The base has many, many sculpted additions by Sherry. On the FRONT, at the very top, you will see two sculpted and applied bats flying in the night sky. Curling around the sides of the base you will see tendrils of the sculpted tree reaching out in a graceful pattern. The bottom front of the base features three sculpted toadstools and a large eight legged spider. The toadstools are slip decorated in apple green and yellow and are growing out of mottled and mossy soil. The large spider is deep black manganese and is perched at the base of a delicate web slip decorated in white. Chris Woods added slip decorated details using manganese, spice yellow, museum yellow, apple green, tan and white to create a spooky nighttime scene at the center. There is the apparition of a detailed witch on broomstick just crossing over the surface of the full harvest moon. Wispy cloud cover was added to the night sky and she is flying over a harvested field. In front of the field we have the whimsical addition of five little pumpkins sitting on the black picket fence. Each has a unique carved jack-o-lantern countenance.

On the BACK of the base you will see many additional sculpted and applied creatures and details. At the top of the base you will see two sculpted manganese bats flying over the surface of a moon slip decorated in museum yellow. Below our bats you will see our Halloween Blessing that has been slip decorated in spice yellow, it reads – “Out with you! Spirit of fear, Spirit of death. Give way to the Sun and the Moon! For this is a place made safe! And all who reside here, let none enter here unbidden, keep harm and fear far from this place. May God and Goddess Bless us. So mote it so, So mote it be”. At the very bottom you will see tendrils of tree roots framing in both sides – look closely for hidden faces. There is a sculpted and applied tombstone seated in a bed of mossy grass. The tombstone has an incised skeleton and RIP at the top – you will also see a slip decorated ghoul rising up from behind.

The LEFT SIDE of the base features the sculpted and applied tree that serves has a sturdy and impressive handle for the piece. The tree has tendrils of branches creeping out from the trunk and a visible root system at the base. Knots and incised detail are complimented by white and manganese slip decoration to give the tree a bark like appearance. Perched in the center knot you will find a hand sculpted owl finished in tan, yellow and manganese. The tree is finished with a few remaining fall leaves finished in apple green and yellow with veined incised detail. If you look closely you will even see a ghoul or two peering out from the branches. The RIGHT SIDE of the base also has the aforementioned tree with all its color, knots and incised accents. In addition, this tree hosts a hand sculpted raven finished in dark manganese and has an expressive sculpted face at the center.

Our potters have been ‘under the spell’ of this piece for the 4 weeks it has been in production. Its creation has dominated all of our daytime pottery moments and even intruded into one potter’s nighttime dreams. You know you are enthralled by your work when you dream the best way to create and attach the spooky handles that support and enhance this bewitching piece. We hope this pot finds a home with someone who will be as ‘enchanted’ by it as we were during its making.

NOTE - This piece was thrown and decorated by Chris Woods and has sculpted accents by Sherry Ackell. Betty Lou Viox offered creative input and many wonderful ideas that made this a truly special and one of a kind piece.

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