I love clay. It is such a wonderful, luscious, malleable, strong substance. Its essence is the essence of my exploration. Clay can become so soft that it turns to liquid and yet when left to dry, can hold almost any shape. Even after over 40 years of working with this material, I still marvel at that. This essence of clay keeps me interested in the possibilities that can present themselves from the material.
I work on the potter’s wheel as well as hand build. My work is both functional and sculptural. I have two lines of work: functional high-fire tableware and one-of-a-kind objects finished with either a post-firing reduction or high-fire stoneware glazes. My approach is spontaneous as I like to be open to the moment and see where certain shapes may take me. Clay and I are in conversation with every piece I work on.
When the time comes to fire and finish pieces, the post-firing reduction approach* is quite exciting. Each piece will be different and I never know what the piece will look like until the firing is completed. It is a rapid firing process where each piece is individually taken from the kiln, still hot, and surrounded by combustible material to flame, then smoke. The piece is then immersed in water to freeze the colours. Unveiling the piece and scrubbing it clean reveals the wonders of the fire as well as changes due to glaze application, the fire itself, and the effect of the smoke and flame.
Since 1984, I have also been a student of Chado (the Way of Tea/Japanese Tea Ceremony). The pottery used in this contemplative practice has always been inspiring and further informs my work.
*This process was discovered by accident in 1960 by American potter Paul Soldner during a demonstration of the Japanese Raku process. The piece he was moving from the kiln to the quenching bath fell into some dried leaves and ignited them. He liked the results, so the post-reduction process was born.