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A quartet of pots - hot from the kiln

LOOK out, Bernard Leach, here I come! This collection of stoneware and earthenware pots is a mixture of coiled and wheel-thrown examples of my work, the most recent being what my wife calls the 'wonky' pot at the top.

Though I like the symmetry of thrown pots, I also appreciate the more random charms of less precise coiled vessels, which can have more 'soul' than their thrown counterparts.

I also like the coiling process, which establishes a more direct connection between the potter and his/her pot. Unless you are an absolute master of the wheel - and there aren't many around among studio (as opposed to industrial) potters - the machine seems to retain an element of control, so that you sometimes end up with a compromise between what you intended and what you have the ability to achieve.

Anyway, all things considered, I'm moderately pleased with this quartet. The honey-glazed sgraffito pot on the right is featured in an earlier blog. The top pot, an incised earthenware vase, has two coats of glaze, with honey glaze overlaid on white, leaving the kiln to produce a very interesting mottled texture as the two elements fight it out at high temperatures.

One of the most appealing aspects of pottery is the surprise you get when you open the kiln. Whatever you set out to achieve, the firing process has the last word, often producing surfaces you could never have imagined. Sometimes, an ordinary pot can become something special when the mercury reaches a thousand degrees and beyond. Occasionally, a pot can crack or explode under the duress of extreme heat, but that's another story...

As time goes on, I hope to get better. But these will have to do for now.

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