My dad is a potter and for years he has shown me how to make pottery on a wheel using traditional techniques as well as interesting methods such as Raku pottery where the process and glazes applied before firing can make or break a pot (quite literally!) I really enjoy Raku as it can produce incredible colours. The pots are heated under a very intense heat and then submerged in sawdust which smokes and then you scrub of the tacky, black substance it creates with a scourer to reveal the colours.
Over the Easter holidays I decided to try something new. As my Dad has been busy making pots to exhibit this summer access to the wheel wasn’t the easiest! He therefore suggested I make a pot out of “slabs” as you would when creating a tile. I was excited by this as we recently went to the COCA (Centre of Ceramic Arts) in York to have a look at their collection and I was really inspired. In particular, Alison Britton’s ceramics caught my eye. The ones on display were large and angular, very artsy rather than a traditional pot made for practicality alone. The one I was drawn to looked like a face, a pointy nose of a snooty woman or something. And so I decided to create my own style of pottery.
I rolled out clay to a desired thickness using the tools my Dad uses to create tiles to ensure the thickness throughout. Unlike a tile I rolled it out bigger so that the slabs were varying sizes and shapes (rectangle, oblong etc.) I then allowed these to dry out a little, coming back to them the next day to start decorating and assembling my pot design.I used all sorts of things to create patterns such as shells, flowers, an old rail card cut up into a zigzag shape etc. Once I was ready I began putting the slabs together using “slip” which is basically a watered down clay that is slippery. I had to crosshatch the sections I was joining with a knife and then add slip and push the two joins together. I started to envisage a maze shape thinking of people walking through it, the theatre designer in me talking!
This is the pot at the moment, it is soon to be glazed and fired.