I am drawn to pottery because it involves all the senses; the damp earthy smell of clay when I enter my studio, the wet, cold satin of the clay gliding through my hands on the potters wheel, seeing the transformation from earth to fire to usable object, the way the clay tastes when you accidentily brush your lips with clay covered hands, the peaceful sounds of a potters wheel turning or the jets of a kiln firing. I can't imagine a more perfect and peaceful craft to dedicate one's life pursuing.
Clay & Glaze
The potters wheel dates back to as old as 4500 B.C.E. where potters would spin clay on a wheel propelled by their hands or feet. I use an electric potters wheel and stoneware clay to make dinnerware. Stoneware is a durable clay body that is fired to a very high temperature. I then use glaze to decorate the surface and give each piece a unique look.
I use two different kiln firings to make my work. Both methods utlize a kiln fired with gas jets. The first is called cone 10 reduction. Potters typically measure the temperature of their kilns using cones instead of degrees. Cone 10 is approximately 2350° F. Cone 10 reduction involves reducing the amount of oxygen in the kiln as you approach the final hours of firing. By reducing the oxygen you manipulate the glazes and pull out rich beautiful colors.
The second style of firing I use is called soda fire. Soda firing is an atmospheric firing technique where “soda” is introduced into the kiln near peak temperature, usually 2350° F (cone 10). The "sodas" are sodium bi-carbonate and sodium carbonate. Once the soda is introduced to the heat of the kiln, it vaporizes and bond with the surfaces of the pots to form this beautiful glaze.