Friday, June 11, 2010
I first tried my hand at slipware back in 1991. I had always loved the works of the early American redware potters and I especially loved the work of Michael Cardew, so I thought, why not give stoneware a break.
I started testing first earthenware and terra cotta clay bodies and finally found one that suited me. The next step was testing slips to meet up with the terra cotta I was making up. I got a good fit almost right away and set about making some redware style pieces with amber glazes. Though it was working, I was just not that enthused with the look.
What I ended up deciding on was a blending of Cardew and Juan Miro. I opted to use a background of black slip over the terra cotta and then used white sliptrail designs under a nearly crystal clear glaze. Though I didn’t know it,that was the look I was going for. The new slipware became my first body of work the galleries accepted (I had only been making pots for about 18 months) and has continued to be 30% of my sales up until the present day.
I have developed a large group of designs based on both traditional slipware and my own newer style designs. I am forever using the ubiquitous spiral as well as my “landscape men” and a cast of thousands. The real love of slip trailing is that you have one shot, you can’t hesitate or it shows. The designs are instantaneous and in some distant way related to the immediacy of Zen painting. Besides, how can you go wrong with black and white?