Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pinch, Pinch, Slab

One advantage of a Maine winter is the joy of watching birds at the feeder. Not only do we get a greater variety, but they are more clearly visible against to backdrop of the snow. My morning routine involves a stop at the picture window to smile at my little friends, who have no idea or capacity to wonder who their benefactor is; they are the poster children for living in the moment.

I have two of those plastic tube type feeders - super cheap & functional, the birds love them - a thistle
Oops, thistle sock is empty!
We'll have to settle for sunflower seeds
seed sock that's always covered with finches, and a suet cage that the squirrels already know how to open. I have dedicated squirrel feeder as well but do they appreciate it? Noooooo.)

All those are fine, but lacking something in the aesthetic department. "You know what I'd love?" I asked myself. "A handmade feeder. But they are so expensive!"

Because they are cool and fun and always up for something new, I decided to do this as a project with my handbuilding class. This feeder is constructed of two pinch pots - the body, and the tray - and a slab roof. There's a hole through the bottom and the lid, through which a leather cord is threaded, allowing the feeder to hang, and allowing water to drain out so the seed doesn't rot.

One important feature are small slabs attached on the interior above the openings through which the seed falls. Without these the seed will just flow out, like a bucket with a hole in it! The feeder is of an unglazed brown stoneware, brushed with red iron oxide - fully mature stoneware does not need glaze to make it impervious to water. 

I think I will add a version of this piece to my spring line. My next step is to work out this design as a thrown form. I think it would need to be 3 parts: tray, body, and lid. I could throw the tray and body as one piece, but that would make cutting the seed holes harder. 

I'll try it both ways.

Also, not sure the leather cord is the best solution. It looks nice, especially with the iron-brown surface, but might it rot, or fray? This is, of course, the purpose of a prototype, to get the bugs out. Though hopefully there aren't any bugs in there, yuck. Another advantage of winter, I suppose: at least there's no bugs. 

Today is mean to be a cleaning day - and boy does my house need it! - but I feel this new design calling me into the studio. 

*J/K Resistance is not futile. Never.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

re your leather, looks good but.... for really secure squirrel proof use a 1/8th inch metal cable. Your local hardware store will have it and the clamps.There are some that you would need a vise to use and there are some that bolt on. The little imps broke my hand made one, their continuous jumping made the hook come unscrewed.