Here is the process that I go through to get the end result. Firstly I order my clay from the Cape, so I wait a couple of days for delivery. I prepare the clay to get the right firmness and consistency by wedging and drying the clay slightly.
I throw all pieces deciding on shapes before embarking on each one. I use metal kidneys to refine the shapes as I go. The pieces are left to firm up and then I remove the excess clay from the bases and turn the foot. Then leave pieces to dry out completely.
Once the pieces are completely dry, I use steelwool to sand away any blemishes.
I then use hot wax to create the resist on the vessel, washing away with water to leave the embossed design. All vessels that survive this process are then fired in a bisque kiln to 1000o C, glazed and then fired again to 1260o C.
Occasionally there are marks in the clay body that only seem to surface after the last firing. These I am told are flecks of iron or cobalt that are in the clay body itself and are sadly unpreventable. The whole process can seem laborious and time consuming, but every element of the process holds a certain charm for me and I enjoy every moment – barring the pieces that collapse in your fingers while working on them in all the initial stages before firing.
I have spent the past ten years honing my skills working in Porcelain making fine, delicate Vessels displaying various levels of translucency.
But in the last two years I have done a 360 degree turnabout and have started making refined, bold Stoneware forms in vibrant colours. All things that are actually quite foreign to my natural style of work. I am absolutely loving what I am doing and intend to explore it to its fullest.