Maybe you’ve noticed that I become quite beside myself with joy at learning to throw all kinds of things on the pottery wheel. One of my greatest delights was to learn to make useful, beautiful, ornate candlesticks. These form the first part of my new collection for appleturnover, a series of handmade tried & trues.
Over the last couple of years I’ve found my rhythm, making them. I center a base of clay on the wheel, and pull it up very narrowly. The trick is to keep a finger tucked in the spinning top of the candlestick, once delicate fingers have formed that shape, to steady it as the undulating forms below it are pinched. I love the concentration required, meditative and therapeutic.
I’m inspired by ornate, baroque forms, and a pale and muted, aged european sensibility. I’m playing with variations in shape with these, and different sizes, like chess pieces, the queen, the pawn. I’m particularly fond of the elegant way that beeswax drips off their curves.
These are stoneware candlesticks, fired hot, with a smooth, matte glaze that I’ve been told looks a bit edible, like a glaze of icing on pastry. Combined with the intoxicating scent of my children’s hand-dipped beeswax candles, we should be a bit ravenous for honey and cake all through the winter. Not a bad state to be in, really.
I’m throwing them in the local studio along the winding road through the forest surrounding our cottage. My children still want me to make an old fashioned candleholder with a curved handle to carry around. Perhaps they imagine themselves walking around with an open flame, wearing Dickensian nightshirts?
Have a look at the new collection of candlesticks and other tried and trues in the etsy shop. (Oh yes, the new appleturnover site is coming! Little by little!)
Extraordinary, to move through a sun salutation while facing the sun.
This year, amongst many dreams that are turning into goals, I’d like to devote a few minutes each morning to even the briefest sun salutation, even a moment of yoga. It is easy for me to decide to take this tiny movement and let bigger ideas about a yoga practice, or even of getting exercise, happen as they will. I’ve begun and I feel transformed already. Limber and grounded.
About transformations. This little site is migrating, and in the process, a very gentle redesign is happening. I’ll be seeing you quite soon from our new home, not so very different from this one. Get the postcards to hear right away.
Workshops are beginning soon at appleturnover studio on the lake, in Victoria - get 10% off!
One chilly winter’s day in England, not so long ago, the great baker Aidan Chapman taught a few River Cottage students how to make pannetone. This winter fruit bread dates back to the Romans, and Milan is its birthplace. Aidan was kind enough to let us share his recipe, and so I pass it on to you, on the first day of winter.
- We’re going to need:
- 300g flour
- 5g yeast
- 10g sea salt
- 100g sponge/starter
- 2 eggs
- 2tb yogurt
- dried fruit
- citrus zest
- 2 drops pannetone essence
- a splash of brandy or rum
- butter for drizzling
- a pannetone paper case or linen cake tin
Mix the ingredients with water to form a loose batter. Pour into a pannetone case or a lined cake tin, cover with a clean cloth and leave overnight, ideally up to eighteen hours. Snip the surface with scissors before baking 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 160C/320F. Melt the butter with rum or brandy, pierce the cooled loaf and drizzle it over. Dredge with icing sugar and serve, warmed, with ice cream.
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