I have always been attracted to the process of how things are made.   I also love to create things with my hands.  I have sewn quilts and clothing, grown sourdough starter and made the bread.  I have dyed and woven scarves, canned fruit, and made jam.  I have refinished furniture, made mosaics, designed and helped build rudimentary tables for my studio, and gardened.  Some of these I still do, but new items keep being added to the list, such as beekeeping (first have to figure out how to deal with the bears) welding, kiln forming glass, wine and beer making, batik…. the list goes on. 

Ceramics is the perfect medium for a process addict.  There are so many different processes and then, when you begin to combine them, the possibilities become endless.  Now, throw in the challenges of working with materials that are guaranteed to change periodically and you have perfection .  

Ceramics  keeps me grounded and aware that one must maintain a healthy relationship from attachment to outcome.  Like life, even though you may put your best effort forward, that effort does not always equal success.  Those nonsuccesses are not failures, because they provide valuable learning experiences. There is also a realization that some things are just not in our control.  This makes the successes all the sweeter.

A potter acquaintance said jokingly that ceramics is just delayed disappointment.  A good friend put things in perspective by stating that in the end, it’s just clay.

The Work

I  use an electric wheel and slabs to form the work. While the clay still has some moisture it in, some pieces have slip and images applied.  Slip is a mixture of water, clay and sometimes other materials that can be applied by dipping or brushing.  After the clay is dry, the first of two firings is done.  This first firing is called the bisque firing.  Bisque firing results in work that is solid enough to be easily handled, but still porous enough to absorb the liquid glazes.  

Until recently, I  did atmospheric firing, specifically soda firing. Due to the active environment of a gas fueled kiln plus the addition of the sprayed soda, soda firing  tends to have  less predictable outcomes than electric firing,   I am attracted to this unpredictability, and in an effort to obtain the unexpected in the more static environment of an electric kiln, I have been experimenting with dipping and spraying multiple glazes on the pieces.  All of my glazes are food safe and made in my home studio. 

After glazing, the work is fired for a second time in an electric kiln to a cone 6 temperature.  Again, I am working towards glaze surfaces with more depth, so I have been experimenting with slow cooling cycles which help to encourage crystal growth in the glazes. The outcome is work that looks more related than identical and is what I am striving for.

I consider my work to be a “green” product.  Solar panels provide the electricity for the studio including the kiln.   I am excited to be making work that has a lower carbon footprint, as well as it being the ultimate reusable.

My hope is that the pieces you take home make every meal a celebration.

A hand made gift from one of my daughters

© Ingrid Hathaway 2018