It all starts with the clay....
Without good clay you can't make a good pot. The properties of the clay you use affect how the clay behaves in both the wet state for making and in the finished fired surface. Because of this I make many of the clays I use in small batches, varying materials each time to further refine the characteristics I strive for. This constant testing of materials and recipes has led me to several clay bodies I use regularly. I have chosen these for their throwing properties, their ability to have attachments, their fired surface texture and above all their fired visual surface.
Most of the work I produce is thrown on the wheel. I work in small batches of 6, 12 or 20 pieces at a time depending on their complexity. This allows me to pay close attention to the form, how the lip or rim might feel in use, how the foot or bottom is finished and last but not least the texture of the surface I leave behind on the piece. All of these contribute so much to how the finished piece will look and function.
I try to use as many local materials as I can in my glazes. I feel this grounds my work in this place, in the area it was made. My work is typically only glazed on the interior. This allows the flame and ash of the kiln to move and melt over the exterior leaving their own marks and history on the pots. It is for this part of the process that I do all the other work.
I choose to fire my work in a woodkiln. This choice is three fold.
Firing the work with wood is a labour of love over many hours. It requires constant attention. This attention to the stoking, the flame path, the coal bed and the atmosphere in the kiln all contribute to the rich varied surface of my work.
Firing with wood is more environmentally sustainable than electricity, gas or oil.
Woodfirings are a communal task. I generally fire for between 18 and 30 hours. This commitment of time is not easily done by ones self and so we generally come together as a group to fire. This gatheing of community allows for continued friendships, sharing of ideas and a time of reflection together on the work as it comes from the kiln. This is a most valuable time together with honest discussions about our work.