I use various techniques in my clay work to produce the textures and forms. I prefer hand building but also like to use the wheel to bring a sense of energy and spontaneity into the work. I spent some time learning from Shozo Michikawa how to use this energy of the wheel to produce textures and forms. Then whilst recuperating from a shoulder injury, and unable to throw, I developed my own techniques which I continue to use. Starting with a solid lump of clay the pieces are hand formed by texturing and stretching. I start with an idea of the shape I want but allow the clay to dictate much of the process. It varies according the type of clay and how soft or firm it is. Coils are added to finish rims or form galleries for lids. I particularly like making pieces without foot rings, so that the natural desire of the clay to swell into a curved base results in a pot which moves gently as you walk by enticing you to put out a hand to steady it and feel its texture.
To see more of my working processes take a look at this film by Ben Boswell.
Raku, as I use it, is an earthenware technique involving a very rapid glaze firing cycle and handling of the work at high temperature. It is a fast and immediate process of transforming clay into ceramic. The weather plays a part in the progress of the firing and the subsequent smoking.
Wood firing is a long and hands-on method of kiln firing requiring continual stoking over many hours. Because of the very changeable weather on Skye, I have a fast firing kiln taking on average 16 – 18 hours of stoking.
Saggar firing takes place within the wood kiln. It is a technique I have been developing to achieve the dark colours and stone like qualities of the rocks around me.
Click on one of the links below to find out more about each of my processes: