Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Food as art

Danger! Danger! New craft I want to try: carving fruit and vegetables.

Great article and pictures here at the New York Times.

It's an old, old tradition in Asia. I remember learning to cut up and carve an apple into a bird, though I don't remember if I learned in the US or in Taiwan.

While I will most probably not start this craft, I can translate it into my pottery. I've been making more rounded jar/pots, which are very much like pumpkins or watermelons. I love carving pottery when it's at the leather-hard stage.

When pottery is first thrown on the wheel, it's very wet and malleable. Then it dries to a leather-hard stage where you can pick it up, cut it up, and carve, like leather. It's not so soft and limp, but it can still bend without breaking. At the bone-dry stage, it's, well, bone-dry, and very fragile. Pick it up wrong and it'll break, even though it looks strong, it's not. Then it's ready for the first firing in the kiln. After the first firing is the glazing, and another firing.

But that leather-hard stage is magic. I've taken my pieces home at that stage and carved curliques, birds, flowers, and other bas-relief type things into the pottery. It's my second most favorite stage of pottery making, the first being the actual throwing on the wheel.

The pictures from this article is definitely giving me ideas....

1 comment:

KnitTech said...

I wouldn't mind learning how to make pottery. But then it would start encroaching on the knitting time. That would be bad.