Initially I throw with earthenware clays in keeping with the slipware tradition. I now opt for porcelain for its strength and white colour. Higher firing temperatures combine decoration and glaze softening the line. Decorating with slips seems a natural medium for me due to its versatility and the various applied techniques such as sgrafitto, brush, dipping, pouring and trailing. I can gain strong colours by mixing in stains and oxides, giving a wide pallet, and combining these give a lustre trail.
I use the clay body with the colour to show contrast, giving impact with repetitive strokes and dots. I finish all my pots with a transparent glaze and fire to 1280 C.
I’m always looking to expand experiences with clay and recently have taken on commissions not directly related to slipware. With this work I have thrown vessels and tested glazes to fit the brief using Stoneware clays, glazes and firing temperatures. Work fired to 1260C.
When I lived and studied in Adelaide, South Australia I was fortunate to study during a time of great interest and affluence in the Arts. The University was kitted out with many kilns, resources and space and so I was introduced to many types of firing techniques including wood firings with soda and salt. We even had a glass furnace. I became interested in the Raku method of firing. We were encouraged to experiment and build kilns too. We had Paul Soldner visit from the United States,
a leading potter in the techniques of Raku who inspired many of us, including me.
Raku is a fast firing and fast cooling technique, which gives you the opportunity to be active during and with the fire. It’s exciting with exciting results. I particularly enjoy the method of Naked Raku, using the smoke effects to show contrast on the clay surface. I am inspired by David Roberts’ work and the work of Tim Andrew. With every firing comes more ideas and questions to solve.
I run the Raku Glazing and Firing Course in the garden at Morley College during Summer Courses in July.