My making cycle is around a month long and begins with an exploration of forms and surfaces to make by sketching. Any specific forms required for commissions or exhibits are considered and this point and planned on paper.
The basic forms are thrown on an electric wheel in one of two custom mixed stoneware bodies, one a light mid iron body firing off-white and the other a rich complex black with white star-like speckles. These are allowed to semi dry before being trimmed and sometimes combined for black/white contrast.
The trimmed forms are coated with a series of liquid clays called slip which modify the colour and texture of the glazed surface. This technique was inspired by the ancient historic Korean technique of Buncheong where stoneware pots were brushed, dipped or sometimes inlaid with white slip.
Following the first (bisque) firing, each piece is lined and decorated with custome made glazes which I have developed over years of careful experimentation. Most of my work is glazed with celadon, a very pale aqua blue glaze with historical roots stretching back thousands of years to Imperial China. This is complemented with a dark Iron glaze (Tenmoku), a fiery orange persimmon glaze and an icing like matt glaze that forms drops of blue celadon in the hotter parts of the kiln.
After glazing, the pieces are returned to the kiln for a second and final firing. This is done in reduction (with controlled oxygen levels) which creates celadon colour and introduces subtle complexity to surface and glaze.
At stoneware temperature, the glaze intimately fuses with the underlying clay - minerals and metal oxides flow from one to another creating a myriad of colours and textures. In this way,. each piece acquires unique features through an element of chaos.
I only regard the process complete only when someone else acquires the piece and discovers its textures and their use for it for themselves, be it simply to hold to admire its details or to use to hold precious and well loved contents.