I have been creating ceramic art pieces since retiring from a 33 year electrical career in the utility industry.
I started my adventure with clay at the La Canada Community Center and have supplemented my education with classes at Glendale Community College and various workshops. Much of my knowledge is from other artist’s suggestions, teachings and critiques.
I have my own wheel at Orange Clay Studio in La Crescenta. This a coop of several artists sharing facilities, ideas and support.
Many of my works are inspired and influenced by the world and nature around me. Others are purely abstracts, “what would happen if I did this, this and that?”
FIRE + WATER + CLAY = CERAMICS
Water is used to blend the clay to a usable consistency, provide lubrication for throwing and cement joints when hand-building. The majority of my work is thrown on the wheel. Pieces are then bisque fired, to prepare them for glazing, the application of a clay, colorant, flux and glass forming mixture. A second firing melts the glaze into the surface of the piece. Some times for special results there are additional steps and firings.
My favorite firing technique is raku. I use this method to create intense metallic lusters and utilize the movement of the liquified 1900 degree Fahrenheit glaze to create and accentuate patterns and textures. These pieces are mainly decorative and have limited functional uses.
I also enjoy creating high fire pieces, glaze fired to 2380 degrees Fahrenheit, using porcelain and stoneware clays. This produces physically stronger pieces which are much more functional for everyday use. There is a completely different color palate available in high fire.
Recently I have been expanding into earthenware clays which are glaze fired in the range of 1740 - 1920 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures allow me to utilize a wide variety of glaze colors that would burn away in a high fire kiln. The glazes used at these temperatures are also more stable in holding their position on a work, allowing fine details and crisp edges in decorating. Majolica work fits here. It is a very rewarding exercise and can have stunning results.
A project that I started last year was inspired by a helicopter flight over Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. I am making a series of pieces in which I stretch the clay to create fractures and crevices. I then use raku glazes to portray the glowing, molten lava in these fractures.