Just recently I have started experimenting with smoke firing again. I love it, it’s such fun and a good antidote to the type of Raku firing I do. Once you’ve prepped your pots, loaded them into the container, popped in the sawdust or whatever you’re using (leaves, sticks, wood, straw, paper etc.) you just light the touch paper and retire. Bliss!
I tend to do my firing overnight. It means that I’m not tempted to interfere with it once it’s set alight. I have been known to poke about with a rod in an attempt to accelerate the firing which ruined the results. I lost all those subtle marks made by the slow burn and ended up with all over brown pots – not what I wanted at all!
Here are some of my recent smoked birds. I love the colours and all those random marks you can get with this type of firing, from pale greys, browns to very dark brown and black. I am reminded of pebbles on the seashore. See what you think.
It’s nine weeks until Christmas Day – I just checked. I’m looking forward to it because if I get there in one piece I will have survived my second year as a maker and boy what a year it has been.
Things took off in April when I rather bravely as it seems to me now, took a stand at BCTF (British Craft Trade Fair) in Harrogate. To be honest I went for the experience, to get some feedback and to make contacts with other makers and galleries. I ended up with a sheaf of orders enough to keep me working through the Summer and Autumn. I drove home after the three days slightly shell shocked, I had not expected the level of interest let alone the amount of orders I received.
Sooooo since April I have been hard at it. Full time, most weekends too and apart from a week away no breaks either. Talk about a baptism of fire! I have learned so so much. In all areas and aspects of the business. Just handling clay day in day out has made me very sensitive to the material and I believe enabling me to get a better finish and ultimately a better result.
Here are a few pieces that I’m about to send to The Biscuit Factory for their Winter Exhibition http://www.thebiscuitfactory.com/