I have the wonderful opportunity each year to be a member of the crew that fires our good friend Jody Johnstone’s Bizen style anagama wood-fired kiln. The kiln holds almost 1000 pieces and takes 4 days just to load. It is then is stoked with hardwood around the clock for 7-8 days by the 4 primary potters and helped by a cadre of others in the final push. After a week of cooling, we open the door to find the treasure within. Visit my wood fired page.
Our kiln shed houses both an updraft and salt kiln. Each of these kilns produce different glaze results. Firing in a reduction atmosphere in a propane fueled kiln gives glazes a particular depth and variation. In a salt kiln, salt is introduced at the end of the firing by either putting salt directly into the firebox and/or spraying a soda/water solution through ports. Beautiful glaze effects occur as the salt is moved through the kiln by the turbulence of the flames. Visit my salt/atmosphere page.
In 1997 the skies were graced with appearance of a once in a lifetime event. Comet Hyakutake surpassed in size and brightness any of the minor comets visible in my short lifetime.
Then, the very next year we got Comet Hale-Bopp. Wow! At the time I lived in the city and had to drive a ways to dark skies. Glad I did. I will never forget the view.
I was inspired initially by reading of the depiction of an astronomical event on an ancient Native American Mimbre bowl made in 1024 A.D. The image was of a 23 pointed star next to their symbol for the moon, a rabbit. Archeoastronomers believe that (according to ancient Chinese documents) this depicts what was a super nova that was visible for 23 days in the daytime sky, the remnants of which are what we now see as the crab nebula.
I chose a cobalt blue slip inlaid porcelain for it’s ability to nicely render precise lines for the constellations and it’s midnight deep blue. Where we live now the dark sky is full of the stars every clear night. Who knows what we will see next. Visit my astronomical page.
These pieces are the result of an investigation into structures that manifest similarly on micro and macroscopic levels. The inherent contradictions of growth vs. assembly; human artifact vs. animal architecture, chaotic happenstance and the metamorphosis of material all inform the works’ content.
This body of work has been slowly evolving for the past 16 years since it was first conceived during graduate study. The discovery of new materials has made it possible to make this very fragile method of construction yield a structurally sound object.
The range of possibilities using fired clay and glaze seems to be limitless. Each series opens more and exciting new avenues for exploration. With each firing I occasionally get an answer to a question posed of the work. More often than not they just generate more questions. Exactly what is needed to propel the next series.