I haven't been to Lake Ferry since the 8 January, a month ago in fact. The weather has been so hot and with the black "sand" I am sure it gets very hot close to the ground. The last time I went MM took off back to the car as soon as I looked like returning and waited in the shade under a ute.
So going today I was really interested to see what had happened to the beach.
As I drive down towards the car park I can see white capes on Lake Onoke and then when I get out of the car the sea is big and the wind is strong. I haven't seen it like this for a long time. Taking off my shoes and putting on my gumboots and staying upright is a bit of a mission.
The wind is blowing from the south onto the beach and pushing the rising tide through the cut and into the lake.
When I walk down to the beach I look across the cutting to Onoke Spit and see the water rushing along the side of the spit and cutting into the sand.
As I walk closer to the beach, the sea gets louder and the waves batter against each other like drunk fighters in a bar room brawl.
Down by the sea the wind batters my ears and I can image that my ears are heavy cloth sails flapping against my head. Suddenly I nearly lose my hat.
Further along the beach I watch the patterns and lines made by the sea as the waves throw themselves against the shore and rush up the beach and then retreat.
Then I remember I had brought some of my pots from the sawdust kiln to photograph among the grey gravel/sand of the beach. So I head for the middle section of the beach where the driftwood is dumped by the tides.
When I made these containers I was mindful of the colours at Lake Ferry and then so excited when I emptied the kiln. I think I will get a selfie stick to see if I can photograph closer to the ground. Getting down and lying on the sand could be maybe a goal. All my pinch bowls just show the upper surface but there are some lovely patterns and marks on the sides.
Debbie Lyddon always photographs her finished work in the relevant environment and this was something I learnt at her workshop in Switzerland. We all took our work down into the paddocks that had inspired it and photographed it there.
When I get back to the car I collect my plastic milk bottle and take it down to Lake Onoke to collect some water to take home to do some dyeing with seaweed on silk and maybe linen. As I take the lid of the bottle off, the wind catches in the mouth of the bottle and vibrates. I twist and turn the bottle in the wind and imagine I am part of a sea orchestra.
When I was walking along the beach I found this piece of kelp tied to a length of nylon fishing line. I wondered what it was for - a pretend kite, a pretend fish? What do you imagine it could have been for?
I have fired my sawdust kiln. It was very smokey and difficult to keep going. I felt really bad about the neighbours but once it was started I didn't want to stop, or pour water on it to put it out.
I constructed the kiln in our old green house and made it from old concrete blocks from the old compost bins in the chicken run.
Before I made it I got books from the library on primitive kiln making and watched so many u-tube clips I was full up.
Then I got some clay from Porirua (Kapiti) and made some pinch pots. They are very organic and simple and quite small. They just fit into the palm of my hand. Then I had to wait for them all to dry.
Sitting watching the burn and trying to burn sawdust is not like in the videos. The videos are over in ten minutes, and the smoke is minimal. I suspect I smell like a smoked sausage.
Once the kiln was ready and the pots dry I rang the Council and went to the Fire Station to let them know what I was doing. There is no fire ban in the urban areas of Wairarapa.
I wanted my containers to have some reference to the Wairarapa coast so I wrapped the bowls with tinfoil to hold feathers and seaweed and shells in place against the clay surface. I also stacked them inside each other to see what would happen. And I had collected a pile of kelp which had dried and put that directly into the kiln to burn.
I have developed a theory about the sawdust burning as I have been poking the fire and adding more wood. I was very concerned about how it is going to burn and whether the kiln will get hot enough to vapourise the tinfoil and the shells, feathers etc. I think that if I can keep it burning it will eventually burn the sawdust down though the pile I built and I will have sawdust fired pots. Hopefully these embers will be hot enough to have some effect on the clay.
After a few hours I put a piece of roofing iron over the kiln and left it to smolder. Then it was so hard to just wait. I did lift the lid every so often and it was still burning slowly. Patience is not one of my strong points sometimes.
One of my containers from my kiln. I am so pleased with the grey colour which is so much a part of Lake Ferry. They are not waterproof and break quite easily. However they are beautifully light and the bowls particularly sit so easily in my hand.