A chunk of the earth, plus the added aspect of alchemy, that change - from clay or "primordial ooze" - into something of substance and form, along with the fear and magic of fire, is what I think first brought me to clay and the studio and to the making of objects with my hands and earth - and it is that spirit and beauty that I want to convey to others.

Making Pots: A Primer

My wheel thrown vessels are fired in a primitive manner. At the leather hard stage, they are incised with various tools. When thoroughly dry, they are painted with several coats of terra sigillata, special slips which are made from clays that I have dug in Maui, Hawaii; The Bay of Fundy, Canada; Kiziloren, Turkey; Middleburg, Virginia; and Rhinebeck, New York. The polished surface is the result of burnishing with a smooth stone. To increase durability, the pieces are fired to a low temperature in an electric kiln, then smoked in sawdust.

The pitfire kiln is a rectangular box make of hard brick about 2 x 3 x 2 feet. A few pieces of work are placed in this kiln and packed with sawdust from various exotic hardwoods. The sawdust is lit and left to smolder for at least two days. The type of sawdust, atmospheric conditions, and amount and size of ware add to the variations in the final results. The subtle color changes take place as the carbon is absorbed by the porous clay body.

After years of carving and etching only geometric designs on my ceramics, my mind and hand revolted. The result was a continuing series of landscape and geologic carvings based on rocks, road cuts, mountains, and underwater vegetation. The work that I did after my sabbatical was called the Alien Series and the newest pieces are from the New Leaf Series.

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Life Transitions: From Potter to BodyWorker

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