One of the things that I love most about making ceramic objects is that every single piece records a memory of what’s been done to it. The materials and processes lend each piece its own personality and character, through a slight bend or wobble or mark. Although I try to be as consistent as possible, every piece is a collaboration with the kiln gods and sometimes they make their presence known. I embrace these qualities.
Most of my work is wheelthrown, starting from a ball of clay. With every piece, I’m in awe of how a lowly material gets very slowly turned into an object of beauty with just my hands.
After a piece dries slowly for a few days, I then trim the bottom and either alter its surface with a row of animalistic, prehistoric spines, or paint on underglaze to then scratch a pattern back through. Through much study of patternmaking across cultures, geographies, and time periods, I’ve learned a lot about how simple forms combine into intriguing patterns -- my black and white geometric work is derived from triangles and stripes overlapping and overlapping and overlapping. I like how the repetition can become its own visual language, which feels familiar and yet just different enough.
Then, it’s off to slowly dry again, and into the kiln to be fired up to about 1800 degrees fahrenheit.
Each piece then needs to be glazed, and my work is generally is blacks, whites, and grays of varying textures. All my glaze are microwave-, and diswasher-safe, although I do recommend handwashing to extend the life of the pot. They’re also food-safe, except for the cratered lava glazes, which are never placed on items meant for eating off of.
Everything goes back into the kiln again for a second firing, which goes up to about 2230 degrees fahrenheit in an electric kiln. As Beatrice Wood put it, “women who have diamonds, it can’t touch the joy and excitement of opening a kiln.”