I begin by making a body of work from slab built pieces (and on occasion, wheel thrown forms) with mid-range porcelain or stoneware clay. For each kiln load, I create families of vertical and horizontal vessels as well as flat wall forms that provide me with a variety of shapes and sizes. I especially enjoy embellishments that give the pieces a reference to the classical world of ruins, remnants and worn down surface. Making a variety of shapes, it helps me contemplate what to draw on the forms as I prepare for the bisque firing and the surface painting to follow.
The work is bisqued in an electric kiln. After liner glazing, all the textural areas are brushed with underglazes and wiped down to accentuate the lines and marks. For the drawing and painting cycle, I work with underglazes – and when it comes to drawing, I work in a spontaneous manner more often than pre-planning the overall design or composition. Frequently the surface drawing evolves by initially wiping colors on and off the surface to create patina and accentuate texture – resulting in interesting and subtle markings that I decide to integrate in the overall appearance. Next, I apply underglazes by slip trailing, sponging and brushing to achieve further tonality and line definition, while sometimes using the sgraffito technique for a woodcut-like effect. My studio is full of notebooks with imagery ideas that come from a variety of sources such as travel experiences, photography, art history, the natural world, architecture, mythology and literature. After many pieces are complete, they receive a coating of clear glaze to seal the surface. All my pieces are fired in the electric kiln to cone 6.