How is the work made?
Generally… quickly! There is a child-like quality to the way I engage without reservation. They are forms first, and then they are surfaces to draw on, spaces to define, colors to lay down.
Do you use a wheel?
I use a banding wheel to rotate the piece around as I am building. I primarily use coils and slabs. Slabs are either thrown around like pizza dough, or I use grandma's rolling pin.
How do you describe the work?
The surface is raw, it shows the responsiveness of the clay: the strength, the vulnerability, and the skin stretched. They are confident and playful, while at the same time, solid and calming. Earthly and eroded.
What do you make?
Planters, vases, salt cellars, trays, and various housewares (as opposed to pottery for the cupboard).
Are they functional?
For the most part-- yes!
What is the work made of?
An iron-rich clay, covered in colored slips and glazes and fired in an electric kiln to cone five (roughly 2200 degrees F). This gives a nice brick red clay body that is vitrified (the clay has reached its maturing temperature and is therefore water tight).
How do you get your surfaces?
Most of the pieces are covered in a slip- either a white base or with colorants (usually Mason Stains) added at will. A history in glaze calculation and chemistry allows me to have mad science fun in my studio, an important part of my creative experience. I often wash the bisqued work with a stain or oxide, which gets in the grooves and accentuates the texture.
I am a huge fan of copper- red copper and black copper washes with gerstley borate, and lithium/copper sulphate washes. I sometimes still use my cone 6 glazes, they are pitted and under-fired after the bisque firing. I then wash them with a copper wash, which gets in the grooves, emphasizes the surface, and fluxes out under fired glazes. Some of the slips have sodium silicate and soda ash in them, this will also tend to pit and make space for other color washes to pool later. See Test Tile page.
The 2013 Jerome Grant allowed me to soda-fire. The results with my surfaces are similar between electric and soda-fired, but, of course, soda-firing is magic. I dream of firing my work in a mid-range soda-fired gas kiln.
Top: White slip with lithium copper wash.
Middle: Blue quartz juxtaposed to a pot with colored slips and black copper wash.
Above: Heino cone 6 glaze with cobalt (base mixed with barium), Heino cone 6 glaze mixed with copper (base glaze substituted strontium for barium), Cary's Apple Green. Copper and Apple Green rubbed off to reveal pattern in clay.