When we first started making a living at pottery I was completely enamoured with the everyday object and how it could, if carefully considered and crafted, elevate the ordinary into something more. Pots are the most intimate of art forms and are often taken for granted because we use them everyday but they say so much more about our lives, what we like and even who we are. Its no wonder that pottery shards are the first things that archeologists look for on a dig. Everyone it seems has a favourite mug or a bowl that they would prefer to use over anything else in the cupboard and those of you that understand what I mean, at least on a subconscious level, know what a pot can mean in our daily routines.
Early on one of the pots I would make that reflected this philosophy was the simple and humble little egg baker, traditionally called a ramekin. The idea came to me out of necessity, you see we were running around Western Canada and even dipping down into the eastern US to learn the dark art of woodfiring, something that most schools only have a limited knowledge of. So we travelled around living in the back of our truck and soaking up all that we could from the different kilns and those hardy folk that fired them. We spent very little time at home, just long enough to make some more pots, restock, then zoom off to the next kiln, for at that point we did not have our own wood kiln or place to build it yet. The time we did have at home was crazy busy, making new forms, mixing new clays and glazes, which did not leave us much time for cooking let alone sleeping (the time to do such shenanigans is when your young and eager, and able to heal faster....I miss those days......but I digress). Enter the trusty little egg baker. Crack an egg right into the baker add salt and pepper to taste, whisk, add onions and or a sprinkle of cheese, pop in the microwave for a minute, slide it onto a toasted bagel with lettuce and tomato and presto, you have a fast warm meal. Sustenance to get you through one of those midnight pot making sessions that just needed to get done before the next firing or excursion to a new kiln.
I used to make these by the dozens and for years they were a staple in my repertoire, and in frequent use in our cupboard. Then we got our property, built the kilns and home and gallery and then our lives slowed....err not really......just changed. We lived off grid, so no more microwave and the little egg baker got pushed to the back of the cupboard and my mind. Eventually we gave away the ones we had for lack of space in our tiny kitchen, they just did not warrant the real estate they took in a collection of pots we had amassed in our travels. Then just last year when we got power brought into our property, we will eventually do grid inter-tied solar. We got some electric kilns, a fridge, and a microwave (ahh the wonders of modernity)......yet I still did not revisit the idea of that little pot.
Right now we are all going through something that has not happened in living memory, and as a result we are spending more time at home than ever. As I mentioned it in the last blog post for Enzien and I this self isolation and spending this amount of time at home is normal for us but we often have to remind ourselves that we are not normal (Holiday? What’s a holiday? Is that like those vacation things?) I am sure that this is difficult for most people but it also provides an opportunity to reconnect with those that are closest to you, to spend that which is the only true currency in this world, your time, with one another and celebrate and cherish the domestic. There is no better way than to spend your time making, baking and sharing meals with one another.
Well the little baker is back baby! We have been testing new clays and glazes this Winter/Spring for the electric kiln and as a result we now have some freshly minted bakers for sale, we also have brie and larger pie or quiche dishes as well. I must say it was surprisingly delightful to make them after such a long hiatus. The are such a simple unassuming form, not the more difficult artsy fartsy, mentality taxing work I make for the wood kiln. Still I found that I was humming while these little beauties flew off the potters wheel, reminded me of an old familiar favourite song that pops back into your head after not hearing it many years, reminding you of past times, simpler days, and all good things. I relish these moments and I am happy to say that these little bakers have once again taken up residence in a somewhat over crowded cupboard of potters pots. I am also happy now to share these with you and can only hope that you in turn will share these with others.
p.s. The Duchess delivers.....yay