Many years ago, I learned how to make sprigs for use in decorating porcelain. For fun, I added a very small frog sprig to the inside wall of a slip cast coffee mug. As the user drank, all of a sudden there was this creature on the coffee shoreline. The frog sprig became so popular that people would not buy a cup unless there was a frog in it…worrisome and welcome. After doing this for decades, I decided to stop, and only occasionally use the frog as an observer to small pond scenes. My inspiration comes from our garden pond…goldfish and plants and a herd of frogs inhabit it.
Long story short.
Last fall I was taking in a few tender plants like rosemary into the studio gallery for the winter…can’t do without rosemary. Weeks after this move, I heard the unmistakable sound of a tree frog in my studio gallery. I searched high and low with no luck. Several months later, the same sound and still no sight of my frog. Finally, in early spring I was walking through the gallery, and found the frog getting some sun on a window mullion…lovely. For the next few weeks, the frog stayed near the windows to catch daytime heat, and for the first time ever, I had no flies or bugs of any kind in the gallery.
I found my frog sleeping in a cup several times, and also sleeping just under the saucer that goes with each cup. For anyone else this would just be a kind of neat thing…but for a potter who had put frog sprigs in cups for over thirty years…well this was a thrill.
I managed to get the tree frog back on to the rosemary, and when all serious threats of frost passed, moved the rosemary and the frog back outside where it hung out for a while. We still hear it. Full circle…beautiful.
Thanks for the expanded version of the frog story. The short version was compelling, but long version evokes your spirit more completely.
It is always a pleasure to visit with you, and thank you for your blog. A virtual visit…
I like frogs, especially the tree kind. But Gee, Harlan, I hope you washed the cup before offering it for sale.
Stunning web site!
Beautiful story, Harlan! In the spring after Zalman died we found a tiny, brightly coloured , turtle, no bigger than a large watch face, on the patio. We had no idea where it had come from and put it in the garden amongst the plants.
What a delightful story.
I have admired your pots for a good while now, and I am very excited that you have a nice new website to communicate with the wider world.
I look forward to more of what you have to say. I’d also like to thank you vary much for sharing some of your insider information.
I’d love to know more about how you go about incising yur pots and what inspires you.