The Process

I carve and sculpt the clay to bring shape, texture to bring to life an interpretation of animals and plants on the west coast of Canada.  My current work is the Gulf Island Series and I am starting to work on a Coastal Forest Series, which includes the black bear, douglas fir tree, fir cones, fern and fiddleheads, and pacific tree frog.
Glazes for me add a shiny finish and third dimension to my ceramic pieces. I use a variety of Amaco  and Mayco Stroke and Coat underglazes and mostly celadons and am playing around with Mayco’s multicoloured speckled glazes.
The Process:
    1. Inspiration: get out into the wild and immerse myself in it. Hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, backpacking, beach combing.
    2. Photograph, then draw and sometimes paint the subject. I mostly use watercolours.
    3. Create a flattened partially 3-D clay sculpture (called alto relief, or high relief).
    4. Make a mold of it.
    5. Press clay into the mold to make multiples.
    6. Make adjustments, tidy edges and add texture.
    7. Fire the clay in the pottery kiln at 1063 Celsius (1945F) temperature for about 12 hours. Then it cools for 24 hours.
    8. Underglaze and glaze, mix glazes, test colours, textures, thickness and layering on samples or sacrificial pieces first. Then try to reproduce the successes the next time.
    9. Glaze fire in the kiln at 1222 degrees Celsius (2232F) for about 9 hours, then it cools for a day. Kiln opening is full of surprises, you never really are sure how the pieces will turn out. I get very excited on kiln opening day, it feels like Christmas morning!
    10. Share the lovely creations with the world!