Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I am drawn to hand building as a primary method of making. From flat slabs of clay I enjoy creating pieces with natural curves, organic forms and the richly textured surfaces found in nature; the shape of a leaf recorded like a fossil in clay, the colors of the forest floor, ancient and rich, the ivory patina of old bones, reflected in the crafted object. Because all of my pieces are hand built rather than wheel thrown, the naturally occurring irregularities that happen with clay during firing add to the the organic feel of my work.
My main body of work is made from porceline clay. Often I impress leaves and flowers into the piece and then use this natural material as a resist for the dark slip or underglaze. After bisque firing, color is added to the botanical impression, clear glaze is applied, and the piece is fired yet again creating a detailed, highly contrasted result.
Recently I have become interested in the colorful decorating technique referred to as Majolica. This style pottery is found in many cultures and each culture has a distinctive style. All are made from terra cotta clay covered with an opaque white glaze and then painted with a bright design which, when fired, becomes part of the surface. My more contemporary form of Majolica is made in this same traditional way.
I love the contrast of the brightly painted, exuberant Majolica with the more subdued and carefully arranged porceline pieces and both clay bodies, the clean, white porceline and the earthy, red terra cotta, have great appeal. Each piece stands alone as a piece of art or can also be used for serving food. All of my materials are lead free and food safe and although the porceline pieces could go in the microwave or dishwasher, the terra cotta should be hand washed.
I also enjoy the opportunity to create wood fired and barrel fired work from time to time. These ancient techniques use the direct effect of the smoke on the clay to create surfaces found nowhere else in ceramics. From time to time you will find work of this kind on my shelves as part of my Faux Bois, or false wood series.
Additional images can be found on my website www.diannecollinson.com