I use various techniques in my clay work to produce the textures and forms. I naturally prefer hand building but also like to utilise the energy of the wheel to bring freshness and spontaneity into the work. I spent some time learning from Shozo Michikawa how to use the energy of the wheel to produce textures and forms. In recent years, whilst recuperating from frozen shoulders and unable to throw I have been developing the techniques I now 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 which 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 is a low temperature earthenware technique involving a very rapid glaze firing cycle. The pre-fired pots are placed into a hot kiln, heated up to about 1000°C and removed carefully using long tongs.
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. Depending on the type of kiln, clay and the nature of the ware, the firing can be as short as 10 hours or as long as 10 days. The longer firings tend to be higher temperature (1280º -1320ºC) often to develop heavy deposits of ash on the pots. The ash melts at these temperatures to form part of the glazing.
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: