Anne starts off each piece on the potter’s wheel. Depending on the size and form she desires, the thrown piece may weigh from 5 to 80 pounds. After completion, she trims the piece to the desired aesthetic form and cuts the top to the desired shape.
The wall of the piece is thickened as necessary to accommodate the desired surface carving. This is a basic but critical part of the process. Any flaw in the joining of inner and outer clays will cause the surface to peel off during the firing, after most of the work has been done.
Using various tools, Anne carves the piece’s surface. She brings an eclectic collection of tools and objects into service to achieve the results she wants. At this time, she may put different clays and slips on the surface.
A critical process due to the thickness of the carved walls. The entire piece must be completely dried throughout or it will explode when heated (very upsetting). The drying must be slow to avoid cracking, sometimes taking several weeks.
Anne fires the green piece to Cone 08 to make it easier to handle without breakage. This is a 3 day process.
After bisque firing, the sculpted surface is treated with various clays and slips to accent the fine features of the surface. As appropriate, glaze is applied to portions of the piece.
Finally, the piece is fired in a gas kiln to Cone 9. For part of the time, Anne puts the kiln in reduction (using an excess of gas to air) to develop the clay’s color and the glaze surface. This firing requires 4 days – 1 day to heat, 1 day to fire and 2 days to cool.