stoneware candlesticks

Learning to throw all kinds of things on the pottery wheel is a joyful thing! 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.

stoneware candlesticks

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.

stoneware candlesticks

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.

stoneware candlesticks

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.

stoneware candlesticks

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?

stoneware candlesticks

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p>Have a look at the new collection of stoneware candlesticks and other tried & trues in the shop.

studio & shop

Thanks to all who came to the open studio! I am so looking forward to seeing you again at classes starting up. Here’s a peek round the Decemberish shop.

milk painted shop hutch

So nice to fill up the milk-painted shopkeeper’s cabinet with useful things and my traditional skills studies & kits.

kits and pottery

The pottery from my autumn return to the wheel has arrived. I’ll show you more closely soon.

long and elegant kit, with creamer

antique singer

The handcrank, star of the old school quilting tutorial movies, has pride of place.

hand-thrown candlesticks

You can still get the patterns (sorry, the kits are all sold out!) as a gift to someone who’d love to learn a traditional skill. The movies in the sidebar to the left guide every kit and pattern.

studiocorner

More detail of some of the things I’ve been making, here. I’m so pleased with the new white glaze.

open studio

Come to appleturnover’s first open studio! Meet me at the lake this Sunday, December 1st, 2013, anytime from 1 until 4. All details are here. Have a cup of tea, warm up by the fire and learn to make a willow ornament. Catch an early bird sign up for New Year workshops and pick out your favourite traditional skills kit or one of my handmade tried & trues, well in time for the holidays.

studio on the lake ©2013 elisa rathje

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p>I hope to see you! (Are you far, far away? Get appleturnover’s letter, the postcards, for a specials in the online shop.) I’m looking forward to showing you what I’ve been making lately.

antique seed case

Deep in projects for the winter fair, I thought I would wade over to make a photograph of the antique seed case for you. Just now I am playing about with objects in it, little sewing kits and other useful old fashioned things.

antique case

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p>I found this old seed display case on the island this summer, and thought it would be just fine for small pieces in my little studio shop. Having migrated from Minnesota to Ontario, then travelled to the Pacific, it now lives in our island cottage opposite the cabinet that I reworked and repainted. It is quite charmingly handmade, beautiful without a thing in it. I shall pack it up, quite full of things in it, this weekend, and take it up the hill to my table at sunday’s local winter fair. If you’re around Victoria, do come by for hot apple cider and good handcrafted things.

to the lake

A full year after leaving the old cottage in the English countryside for the Pacific coast of Canada, we have found home. On the island, on a lake, in a cottage. A moment at the lake, and we all knew it. A month at the lake, and it has all fallen quite astonishingly into place.

paintbox lake

I first stayed in this cottage on Teanook Lake half my lifetime ago. It keeps reappearing in the family, this place. My grandparents built a house around the corner a good forty years ago; some of my cousins grew up here.

mirror lake

The old fishing village is now a handful of cottages. There are no motors on the water to disturb, and if there are ripples on the water it is the wind, the ducks, a swimmer. The water nurtures each cottage, and everyone cares for the water. Great, vivid connection.

raining lake

Despite its position just a few miles from the city, and the odd sounds that carry over now and then, the lake feels like a faraway place.

lake mist

Like the rolling hills of Sussex that we’d gaze across, like the mountains and ocean in my childhood home in the cove, this landscape is in constant, exquisitely beautiful change.

lilylake.s.jpg

I find a new plant in the garden each day, we see another animal, another bird. The sheer variety in creatures and plantlife here is astonishing. Indigenous stories.

splashing lake

Yet if there’s one thing that I longed for in a home, it’s to be where we are living in the landscape, not just looking at it. Drinking it! Eating it! Diving into it.

childhood lake

There are great possibilities for us here, a million stories. Shall I tell you them? I look forward to it. We’re dreaming about so much. Keeping hens, keeping bees, growing and gathering food. Wild swimming, boating, fishing. Days and days of playing outside with friends. And setting up the old school studio to have workshops here!

storybook lake

It is so good to be home.

(Don’t miss a story from appleturnover on-the-lake. Sign up for the postcards.)