I have worked with clay for the past 40 years. Throughout these many years I have almost exclusively made hand built vessels using the “Pinch Pot” method. Using this method is meditative, allowing me to relax with the clay, interact with it, forming a relationship which is not always consciously developed. I enjoy the slowness of this process. When I make vessels, especially the larger ones, I pay close attention to the feel of the clay, noticing closely it’s moisture, thin or thickness of the walls of the vessel. I work with one hand on the outside and the other on the inside of the vessel, pushing out from the inside and pressing in from the outside. Occasionally, if the wall of the vessel becomes too thin, a hole is created, which I work with so the vessel doesn’t become too weak in that area. I am clear that I do not ever give up on a vessel, if it looks like it’s falling apart, I fix it. Because making my vessels is a long process, I feel emotionally attached to them and sometimes find it hard to part with them.
My finishing process includes burnishing, bisque firing the vessels in an electric kiln and then either fire them in a pit or a raku kiln, both variations of what’s known as smoke firing. Smoke firings are unpredictable, spontaneous and intriguing. Not for anyone needing a sense of control!