I work in concert with fire. Ceramics is the only process where the artist hands over all control of the finished work to an entity outside of themselves. Without the flame the clay eventually returns to its natural state (laying at the bottom of a pond).
In My most recent work i have been investigating wood firing. I want to better understand the idea of letting go and letting the kiln do its
work. I love to see the evidence of the fire on my pots and how it alludes to a process that I have little control over. I am investigating how the events
outside of ourselves affects and changes us.
The wood ash deposits, flashing of colors and varying surfaces on the raw clay beautifully illustrate the extreme external forces at work on each piece. It also illustrates how we can survive our trials if we persevere.
Each pot was designed from the beginning of the process to survive the kiln. The chemistry of clay and glaze was determined at the outset with the firing in mind.
Our Creator turns scars into beauty marks, so I do the same.
What is wood firing?
In short, wood-firing is an ancient method of making pottery. It was first developed in the near east and some of the oldest kilns are found in China and the Korean Peninsula. it was the main form of pottery making for thousands of years in part because wood is a plentiful renewable fuel source.
It is a labor-intensive process just in acquiring the fuel needed, requiring cutting, splitting, and stacking cordwood. Building and firing the kiln is also a laborious proccess. In the attached images you can see some pictures of me building a kiln.
I lost 25 lbs building this kiln over an entire summer in 2006.
Woodkilns require a community of individual artists to come together to share the workload of such a major endeavor. This is what I love so much about firing a wood kiln. It’s so much bigger than my own art and together we achieve something that cannot be done individually.