PENN COVE POTTERY
WHEEL THROWN, HAND BUILT, or SLIP CAST
My porcelain pottery is wheel thrown, hand built, or slip cast. Some forms begin as a thrown piece; others are sculpted from a block of plaster or wood. Thrown and hand-built attachments make individuation possible. I began slip casting to cure the warping problems of press molding and opened new doors of design possibilities. The mold making process, a steep self-taught learning curve, has suggested new directions for shapes, which could only be slip cast.
After a low temperature bisque firing, multiple glazes are sprayed, brushed, dipped, and squirted over the pieces. Seven airbrushes and sprayers are used in a well-ventilated booth, masking, spraying and overlapping glazes.
On top of the glaze, I apply gestural lines and swirls, art marks and squeeze art, of various colored glazes using bottles and syringes. Nuanced combinations of matte, gloss, and reactive glazes are tied together by these linear elements over a three dimensional canvas.
The glaze surface design is like a landscape–a horizon line, dark color on the bottom, lighter colors on top—without being representational. I layer the texture and opacity of the glazes to provoke a depth of field. The eye is drawn into the piece with clear glazes and stopped at the surface with the more opaque glazes. The form and surface should appear integrated and mutually dependent.
GAS-FUELED KILN FIRING
The final step is firing 50-70 pieces at a time in a gas-fueled kiln, to 2380 degrees F, in a reducing atmosphere. This process allows for a saturation of color and glaze/clay interaction especially with iron and titanium bearing glazes and the possibility of unpredictable aventurine crystal formation as well as the dramatic and somewhat elusive copper red.