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Horse Hair, Seaweed and Inside-Out Pots

My work varies from finely burnished, smooth, decorative pieces fired to earthenware temperature to highly textured glazed pieces, glazed and fired to stoneware temperature.  In between is functional ware for everyday use.  I thoroughly enjoy the variety and adventure of trying new ways of working the clay.  The processes are constantly being influenced and altered by the work and techniques of other potters who I have had the good fortune to attend workshops with.

Horse Hair and Seaweed Pots
Both horse hair and seaweed pieces are made with fine-grained white clay, specially formulated to withstand thermal shock during the firing process.  They are burnished  using smooth stones to produce highly polished spherical and ovoid vessels.  My objective in making these pieces is to create a surface that has a tactile quality akin to highly polished marble.

Some pieces are fired inside another vessel, called a saggar, using a variety of natural materials and metallic salts to achieve patterns and a palette of color which reveal the movement and flow of the fire.

Other pieces are heated in the kiln to 1200°F, removed and marked with carbon while cooling with a variety of natural materials such as horse hair, feathers and leaves.  The patterns created are similar in nature to what one could achieve with slips and glazes using a brush or a slip trailer.  Secondary carbon markings come from the movement of the smoke over the hot surface of the pot, instilling a sense of movement in the design.

All work is polished to a high sheen with a clear paste wax after cooling to the touch.

Inside Out Pots
Another technique evolved from two workshops that I attended, and a class that I taught at the Crafts Center called “Inside Out”.  The basic technique involves altering in some way the outside surface of a basic thrown form and then stretching the form from the inside to change both the shape of the form and the nature of the surface decoration.  Circles become ovals, lines become spirals, and painted slips become cracked and crazed.  The resulting surfaces then lend themselves to a variety of glazing techniques, suggesting contrasts between glazed and unglazed areas, smooth and rough, light and dark.

It is my hope that you enjoy the variety of these pieces as much as I have enjoyed making them.