PREVIEW Firing “Elle”- April 2017
We use letters to identify the sequence of firings in the newer three-chamber kiln, and this firing, the twelfth, is firing “elle,” which is one spelling of the letter L.
It was the most successful firing so far.
The big pots are particularly grand. The doors to this kiln are bigger than in the salt kiln, so I’m able to make much bigger pots. When first made they weigh up to 350lbs., and are 70” tall and 36” wide. Loading them in the kiln is tough, and firing them is no picnic, but we got it right this time. One massive jar, has a particularly drippy and luscious ash glaze, and is inscribed on the rim, “Tears for America, January 20, 2017,” Inauguration Day, the day it was made. Another huge vase with four handles, wavy slip-trailed lines, and glass runs, is as good as I’ve ever produced. Likewise, an elegant narrow-waisted vase with an incised floral motif, and a new limpid grey/green celadon glaze is a beauty.
The new kiln is designed to produce high-temperature reduction glazes. The color palette is soft and calm, with a profusion of pale blues and greens on the smaller pots. Mostly made from the counter-intuitively named Salisbury Pink granite from Rowan County, I think they’re gorgeous.
In addition to all the normal, cyclical, production details, I’ve been busy with two other major projects that are soon coming to fruition.
I’ve been curating an exhibition and writing and editing a catalogue/book for the show called, Great Pots from the Traditions of North & South Carolina. It’s a sequel to The Potters’ Eye, held at the North Carolina Museum of Art in 2005- 2006. Great Pots features a stunning array of pots from this region’s phenomenal traditions and opens at the North Carolina Pottery Center on May 6, and runs through July 22. http://ncpotterycenter.org/category/upcoming-exhibitions/
I hope you’ll all go and see the show; it’s going to be fabulous! A 30-page “blad,” a publisher’s sample, will be available at the opening, and the 250-page book cataloguing the show will be available on June 8, at the opening reception of Woodfire NC.
Speaking of which, Woodfire NC is a major international wood firing conference to be held at STARworks, in Star, just south of Seagrove, June 8 – 11. Leading potters and presenters from Japan, Australia, India, Kenya, Denmark, Holland, France, and across the US and NC will be speaking and demonstrating during the three day extravaganza. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, so don’t miss the fun! http://www.woodfirenc.com .
Pottery is the “Art of the State.” It’s a pleasure to work here with so many talented potters, and witness the passion that North Carolinians have for this venerable and vibrant heritage.
See you this weekend!
PS The roses on the barn are blooming, the place looks GREAT!!
Hamish Jackson’s pots
This cycle has been relatively long and we’ve had a chance to expand the range of pots that we normally make, whilst also spending quite a bit of time testing new glazes. We’ve been experimenting mostly with a granite called Salisbury pink, which Mark sourced from a nearby quarry. It’s an amazing material that (when ground down to a powder), makes a bright celadon, almost by itself.
You will see in the pots the multitudinous range of celadons that we got out of the wood kiln just a week ago. The differences are subtle but obvious if you look close; they range from bright, clear, translucent blues and pale greens, to darker greys, blues and emerald greens, with varying levels of opacity. I’m very excited about the glazes that have resulted from our testing, and look forward to refining them more in the future.
I’ve been at Mark’s for nearly two years and time has been flying by. I’m still very grateful to be here and learning so much. The upcoming wood fire conference in Seagrove promises to be another great opportunity. I particularly enjoyed making teapots this cycle and feel that they’re a big improvement on my first batch! I’ve been looking after Mark’s garden, too, and can hardly wait for the first new potatoes and tomatoes to be ready for harvest.
Stillman Browning-Howe’s pots
I’ve been apprenticing at the Hewitt pottery for a year now. Working hard everyday, cutting wood, grinding kiln shelves, sweeping dirt, and mixing glazes. Recently we’ve had the pleasure of formulating new glazes with local granites. When they are heated to over 2300°F the granites melt and become a beautiful blue. Adding different materials to the glazes changes theeir appearance, making them green with iron, melting at a lower temp with limestone, becoming cloudy with woolestanite, and hundreds of other options. Endless possibilities, it’s both overwhelming and encouraging. The more I learn, the more I love it, and only being a year in I have a lot to learn