Saturday, July 16, 2011

Back at Midsummer Herbfest

One of the more enjoyable craft sales around is Midsummer Herbfest. This has been held every July for the last 15 years at The Herb Garden in Almonte, Ontario. As far as I know, it has never rained (OK, once there was a sudden thunderstorm towards the end of the day), which must be some kind of record! I didn't do the show for a couple of years because I just had too much going on, but I'm back this year.

So we've been very busy in the Studio making some fun stuff.

I painted a lot of herb tiles. It's sort of paint-by-numbers! I made plaster molds of various herbs years ago - pressed each herb into a soft clay tile, then made a plaster mold of it. Now I can press clay into the molds and make tiles in the winter. I never have time to make them in the summer and there are no fresh herbs growing right outside the Studio door in the winter so this is a pretty cool solution.

Once bisque-fired, it is easy to paint the herbs. All I need to do is fill in the depressions! Like I said, paint by numbers. Then they get a coat or two of low-fire clear glaze, and I fire them to cone 06. The clay is a porcelain, meant for cone 6, so they crackle nicely.  It's kind of fun, actually. No strain on the brain, and they always sell very well.

Super Helper made a (large) stack of hangers: cut the strips of painters' canvas, cut and bent the wires, then glued the wires into the canvas.

We'll glue the hangers to the backs of the tiles next week.

One thing I haven't figured out yet is how to display them at the show. They take a lot of table space if you just lay them out, and they look better hanging up, but what can I arrange to hang them on? I have a 10 x 10 space under a tent..... no walls .... hmmmmm.

We're making some other fun things as well - I'll post more pictures as things get finished.

By the by, if anyone reading this feels like stealing this idea, go right ahead! There are lots of other ways of using the basic idea of pressing plants into clay and plenty of potters doing it, but maybe you can come up with a unique product. If you do, send me some pictures!

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