My work is all hand built mostly using white earthenware clay, using coiling techniques, often with hemispherical plaster moulds to help shape and support the pieces until they are sufficiently dry to be joined and fettled.
The spherical pots are influenced by the Korean Moon jar - an icon of Korean ceramics dating from the mid 17th - mid 18th century. Usually made of porcelain, these large storage jars were called Moon jars because of their shape and the milky white glaze used. I recently discovered the jars were called 'big jars' originally and only in the 20th century did the name 'Moon Jar' come into use.
My first moon jars were burnished and smoke fired to give a more lunar-like appearance than the white of the Korean Moon Jars. The next stage in their evolution involved glazing with a glossy white tin glaze and then smoke firing - just to see what would happen. The results were so dramatic, especially as I had little expectation that the smoke and glaze would successfully combine. The Glossy tin glaze slightly crackled.
Various steps followed - using terra sigilatta, partially glazing the pot to leave naked clay, introducing a limited amount of colour, particularly crackle glazes which culminated in the 'Earth Jar' white, blue, some green and the occasional spot of red and again smoke firing giving depth to the glazes and tone to the naked clay. Very occasionally I get a raku-like effect if the temperature in the incinerator reaches about 950o, although when I am smoke firing my aim is to produce smoke rather than achieve a certain temperature.
A challenge from a family member evoked the next stage in development: could I make something using the same colours and techniques as the Earth Jar but would fit on a narrow shelf against a blank wall ? So the Earth Disc came into being - some have been flat, some concave and others have holes - with all the challenges of working with large expanses of flat clay.
A useful and thought provoking concept I have long admires is the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi (seeing beauty in imperfection ) and the technique of kintsukuroi - the repairing of broken ceramics originally with lacquer and gold dust. I use the kintsukuroi techniques occasionally on the Moon and Earth jars and more often on the Earth Discs.
Alongside the Jars and Discs I make 2 other forms - the vase and the teapot. Both owe a lot to the influence of Japanese ceramics. I call the vases -'pails', based upon the Japanese water pails ( Miso Baketsu) and each has a handle made from twigs, small branches or cane and string. The like the bringing together of the fired clay and wood - spending time shaping the Pail to its future handle and then fitting the handle into its new home.
My teapots are a more humorous, light-hearted affair - not very practical in size, although they all pour without dripping. I don't make as many as I used to but this may change. Who knows where the next bag of clay will take me……..?
I am member or associate member for several craft based groups
West Forest Potters - currently Treasurer
Oxfordshire Craft Guild
Craft Potters Association - currently member of the MAAC