Considerations of shape, space and rhythmic pattern are central to all my work. When creating my ceramic pieces, I continually explore ideas of contained or revealed space.
Some forms are more closed with dark openings, others are open, revealing unexpected interiors. Through the careful placement of holes or openings and apparent covering shapes I hope to generate inquiry as to what lies within, hidden or about to be revealed.
The rhythmic patterns of lines, both intentional and incidental is also an important element of most pieces.
I use the wheel as a tool to create base shapes which are reconstructed into new forms. I like the manipulated shapes to remember their origins on the wheel, through the revealed throwing lines.
I aim to create an interplay between the constructed form, glaze effects and surface treatments.
Raku firing processes offer enrichment of surface, dramatic contrast and incidental pattern.
After bisque firing each piece is glaze fired individually in my raku kiln, a fibre lined converted rubbish bin or my larger 9cu ft top loading fibre kiln.
When the kiln has reached 1000°C, the piece is removed using tongs, while still red hot from the firing chamber, and immediately placed into a bin containing combustible materials such as wood shavings and shredded newspaper. The resulting spontaneous flame causes colour changes in the reactive glazes and the subsequent smoke is absorbed into the clay body where no glaze has been applied developing strong smoky blacks.
The crackle patterns develop due to microscopic cracks appearing in the glaze surfaces which allow the smoke to penetrate as the piece cools in the post firing bins. These are characteristic of contemporary western raku firing effects.