Clay Times Back Issues Vol. 2 Issue 4 • May/June 1996 - Page 25

attempted to throw with the clay, it was like working with wet sand. I could not avoid huge cracks and fissures throughout the piece as I worked on the wheel. The potters at Chavon, after years of working with this clay, can throw large pots with only minimal cracking in the kiln. I was very impressed with these potters who had no formal training yet had risen through hard, repetitious work to extreme skill and mastery. The studio production is mostly thrown on old, rusted Shimpo wheels, fired painted, and then sold in galleries and shops across the Caribbean. The range of ware went from regiments of 12-in.-tall angels made from thrown and altered cones to Grecian-style urns that were 4 feet tall. The amount of production was staggering, with barely any discards. As a ceramics consultant, I aided in the construction of a raku kiln and the development of practi- Preparing work for open-air firing. Smoke-fired sculpture by Chris Garcia. cal and attractive glazes. With the success of that endeavor, the studio’s master craftsman offered to instruct me on a smoke-firing technique that they use in the studio. I had managed in my three-week stay to produce several bottle shapes for the trial raku firings, as well as seven sculptural pieces for the proposed open-air firing. floor. From a nearby palm tree, we cut fresh branches and wrapped them around the art work. We then collected twigs, dry leaves and other kindling and covered the sculptures mid-way in the combustible material. After lighting the stack on fire, we occasionally fed the flames with more leaves, allowing some areas of the sculptures to be scorched as the flames rose. When the flames died down, we put on heat-resistant gloves, took the sculptures from the embers, We took the pre-bisqued sculptures to a bohio (a palm-thatched roof supported by wooden poles) and set them on a pile of crumpled newspaper in the center of the dirt SALKU continued on page 30 NORTHEAST Ceramic Supply Inc. Q UA LIT Y P OT TERY & C ERA MICS S UPPLIES & E QUIPMENT Are you looking for a reliable, expert source for books, videos, and hard to find handmade tools? How does over 500 ITEMS in our catalog including a selection of SPECIALS with discounts of at least 40% sound? Here are some new titles that have arrived since the printing of our Spring-Summer Catalog. Elizabeth Fritsch: Vessels from Another World, Sam Haile: Potter and Painter, Ceramics in Studio Series: Alison Britton, Janice Tchalenko, Richard Slee, The Abstract Vessel. We have what you need! Skutt • Laguna • Gare Duncan • Brent • Shimpo Dolan • Kemper & more BART KASTEN PHOTO R ick Berman May 18-31 BERMAN GALLERY 3261 Roswell Rd. N.E. Atlanta, GA 30305 (404) 261-3858 Friendly Mail Order/UPS Service plus delivery available to upstate New York and western Massachusetts NORTHEAST Ceramic Supply Inc. 621 RIVER ST. • TROY, NY 12180 Call or FAX (518) 274-2722 25 ▼