Thursday, June 12, 2008

Troll, Raku, Orkney Islands

Poor old troll, her skin is crackled and split from being left out in the entryway in all seasons. It gives her a fascinating texture, though, like a raku pot. Hence the photograph. There's something wonderfully satisfying about finding matching patterns in such different objects. There's a little thrill in placing them side by side, like distant cousins, and looking for a glimmer of family resemblance. When they're compared, there's both dissonance and strange harmony, which generates some interesting energy. Like a good metaphor. A little current of electricity. A surprise. Or a joke.

I have a collection of crackled raku pots, which are low-fired ceramic pots that have been removed from the kiln while still hot. I love the "crazing," or patterns of fractures in the glaze. It goes perfectly with the troll's complexion. Once inside the house, she had her eye on one of my favorite pieces, a small turquoise and ivory vase made by David Holmes, a potter from Shapinsay in the Orkney Islands, off the north coast of Scotland. She slipped into it like a hermit crab into a new shell. A perfect fit.

It's been a long-standing dream of mine to visit the Orkney Islands, but so far this little vase is as close as I've come. It's a very earthy and human piece. When it arrived in the mail, I was delighted to discover that it still smelled like smoke. The scent of my dream destination hovered like mystery and adventure in my kitchen. I still pick up the vase and sniff it from time to time, summoning standing stones, Vikings, runes, and migrating birds. I think of names like Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Brough of Birsay, and Orphir. The smoky perfume has faded, but I can still detect a faint hint of the Orkney Islands.

The green raku pot (edge visible in lower photo) was made by Robert Briggs of Corvus Moon Ceramic Art Studio in Springfield, Missouri. Photos taken 6/11/08.


Pam said...

What a curious fellow! What adventures in that face.
I love watching your imagination at play. Have a great reading in Woodstock!

Christine said...

Thanks, Pam. At play, yes. Happy middle of June!

Anonymous said...

Hi Christine, I live on the isle of Sanday, one of the outer North Orkney isles. Lovely troll! :-)
We`ve just had a local island competition which ran from May til the end of September, in which folks here made their own trows (trolls) to display outside their homes. There was to be a first prize but they were all so good, everyone got a certificate instead. :-) None of them had quite such a cute look about them though as your wee fellow.

Christine said...

Hello, Tricia -- thank you so much for writing from Sanday! That is very exciting to me. Are there any pictures of the local trows/trolls online? It sounds like a great contest. My troll (originally from Florida, of all places) thanks you for the compliment.