Well, I’ve reached the end of my first comprehensive pottery class. I found it thrilling. To use age old techniques to create timeless, functional vessels out of something so base as mud without a computer screen or even the possibility of electricity in sight – well, that is just an incredible feeling. I loved this and I will do it again.
My goals are to create large, even-sided vessels, make my wheel-spun walls thinner and finer and create more pinch pot bud vases, as I just love those and can not get enough of them.
The bud vase I made below was finished in a Raku kiln firing, Raku meaning pleasure or comfort in Japanese as the experience is supposed to be a convivial affair with food and drink to celebrate the emergence of beautiful pots. My teacher, Georgie, finished the pots off in a bin of fire using newspapers set alight by the very heat of the pot itself. This produced differing colourations on the glazes, producing lustre and tones of red and purples, making the pots seem metallic as the fire left its indelible mark on the pot’s surfaces in licks and grooves.
It’s a magical process that culminated in the taking home of precious, one-off earthenware.
Here are the products of the Raku firing.
This little bud vase is even more stunning in reality. The treatment with fire following the kiln firing resulted in the exposed clay (the bottom of the pot and the cracks in the glaze – which is meant to happen, it’s a property of the glaze: White Crackle) drawing in carbon and turning black. It produced my favourite effect on this pot.
This pot did not turn out as expected, at all! The glaze, Superstition, was supposed to turn out a mottled turquoise colour. The flames did totally different things to it and instead I got these mottled, metallic tones over the outside of the pot (which I also love). The second picture below shows the turquoise colour, untouched by fire, in the pot’s interior.
This funny little monster was an afterthought in the last minutes of my pinch pot class. I adore pinch pots. There’s such a connection to the clay and it is possible to lose oneself in the process of moulding and forming so that the clay just does what it wants and you are a part of its creating itself in this world. If that doesn’t sound all hippy-dippy I don’t know what does! But it’s true.
Anyway, this fella is a gift to my boy (and he loved it). He lost a horn (we made another), and his features turned black instead of the white I envisioned (due to the added fire bucket step), but the extra luscious, oozing glaze on his backside makes up for that in spades. Delicious!