Creativity and in particular working with clay is a very therapeutic process for me. My studio art practice places a heavy emphasis on experimentation through play. When I enter my studio I revert to being a big kid, allowing myself to play with different forms and media. There is multilayered nature to my work through conscious engagement with the imagination. I have a strong belief in occurrences of a serendipitous nature. My work often has a whimsical quality to it and its primary purpose is to delight the senses and to encourage and stimulate the viewer’s imagination.
Pit firing is a technique for ‘baking’ clay that dates back almost 30,000 years. The process is typically carried out in a hole in the ground, or in a pit. Combustible material is placed on the floor of the pit into which the pots are placed. The pots are then covered with more combustable material. Finally the pyre is set alight and left to burn.
Contemporary pit firing techniques often yield remarkable effects on the on unglazed clay surface. Colors and patterns are derived during the firing process through the addition of sawdust, paper, salt, chemicals and various metals. The effects are completely random and dependant on the combustible materials used. How ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ the fire gets is also a factor. Colours and texture can be created through the use of ‘terra sigillata’, a very fine clay slip brushed or sprayed onto the surface of the pot.
Pit firing has many variations but my fascination is with its primitive nature and its lack of predictability. There is of course the wonder and excitement of ‘opening’ the pit to discover what treasures lie beneath the ash.