Walking pot

I was trying to articulate what makes the walking pot so jaunty and cheerful. It has to do with the long shape of the legs and its round wide belly. 

I had heard about a kind of sake decanter called a funatokkuri (舟徳利) that had been made for transportation (drinking) on boats. I mistakenly thought it might have the same shape, sans the legs. But it turns out the funatokkuri is a bottle which has a bottom fashioned to be very flat, making it especially stable during transportation (drinking) on a boat. Also great, but no sigar.

I had, however, flashed back to visiting Lindisfarne. During low tide so many little boats were stranded on the sands. But they had little legs to hold them up.

I had to google “boat little legs low tide” but then I learned they’re called twin keels. They make the boats look very jaunty and cheerful, like they don’t actually mind having to walk if there’s no water about.

I feel like the walking pot has that kind of vibe. Ceramics walk about as much as boats do but they can look animated all the same.

Back to twin keels, briefly: they are not to be confused with beaching legs, which are skinny little grasshopper legs on either side of the boat. 

Beaching legs.

I’ll leave you with these ultra-charming illustrations Claudia Myatt made for the UK Boats.com explanation on sailboats. Look at the chunky little feet on these boats.

Keel types (from left): bilge keel, swing keel, lifting keel.

Keel types (from left): finn keel, bulb keel, long keel.

Pronk & van Bommel: Amsterdam School Stained Glass

So in our 1930s studio we have these incredible stained-glass windows. Over the bay window, in the bottom right corner of the stained-glass quadriptych* there was a signature that said “Jaap Pronk & v Bommel Haarlem”. So I looked them up and found out some cool deets. 

Jaap Pronk and Eduard van Bommel were two glass artisans (glazenier in Dutch, vitrailliste in French) who apprenticed under Willem Bogtman in the early 20th century and started their own glass workshop in 1924. They did tons of windows, amongst which the windows here in the studio. I have trouble defining the style: it has influences of the Amsterdam School and some Art Nouveau, maybe mostly Art Deco? But the little hand-decorated effects on the glass give it a certain organic vibe, and allows for a lot of texture and shape that have nothing to do with the simple geometric leading surrounding them. 

Below is other work that they did.

*I googled “triptych but four”

Studio Days

An impression of working at our studio, situated in a rich old neighbourhood of Amsterdam, just south of the Vondelpark. 

The building is from 1930. We reference it in our WiFi password. The front room where I work has two grand windows that open over the street. Above the windows are sets of stained-glass windows, also from 1930. They were handmade in Haarlem. In the middle room there isn’t much light; instead there is a large fireplace and a tall, very heavy slab of lacquered wood panelling. In the middle of the panel is an abstract oil painting in a palette of colours we wouldn’t use today. 

The house doesn’t feel haunted but she knows how to express herself. There’s a door that refuses to lock. The mirror hanging over the toilet recently fell and shattered. One heater refuses to turn off – we spent winter days working in t-shirts! and the wallpaper has incomprehensible notes written in chalk. We don’t know how long we will be able to stay. I hope we can stay forever.

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