Most everything I make begins on the potter’s wheel. I use a variety of surface decoration techniques, including stamping (with stamps I both design & make), slip-trailing, slip-sponging, and more to accent and define the forms. All of my work is fired in an electric kiln with glazes and colors I chose and developed. My influences range from 18th-century silver service pieces to Elizabethan and couture clothing, and from Art Nouveau illustration to cake fondant and vintage wallpaper. Each form I make has its own unique building & deco process, and while I work in series, every one is truly one-of-a-kind and made solely by me from beginning to end.
Forms that are altered and/or stamped are done so when the clay is still very soft—at a stage I refer to as “suede“. Additions like spouts, handles, and raised feet are variously thrown, hand-built, pulled, and shaped. Once attached, they’re refined and defined at the leather-hard stage. Except for drape molds of my design for some serving pieces that are also altered and sometimes pierced with an x-acto knife, I use no other molds to create forms or make parts. My wall pillows are individually hand-built from slabs.
I use dozens of stamps I both design & make to impress into my wheel-thrown forms at suede, which allows me to capture the plasticity of the material, and bring precision, softness, and tactility to the finished forms. The stamp designs come from my own sketches, and are influenced by Art Nouveau & Deco, botanical, and other patterns, as well as imagery I just enjoy that brings an elegant or playful quality to my work.
In addition to stamping, I also embellish with dots, swirls, and shapes of slip-trailing (liquid clay squeezed through a trailer, like small scale cake decorating); slip-sponging (pressing decorated sponge-like material with my designs into wet slip); as well as stripes, polka dots, and details of underglaze which might be hand-brushed, applied with resist techniques, and/ or inlayed. These bits of color accentuate the fondant like slip-trail, and add a visual and aesthetic layer of fun.
Clay, Glazes, & Firing
I make my work with Standard Clay‘s mid-range porcelain #213 and recently (2022) added their red stoneware Brooklyn Red to my repertoire. I mix by hand my palette of gloss and satin glazes with color from Mason Stains. I pour and hand dip each piece with these glazes, which highlight each form and reveal the surface patterns, creating a tactile and functional finish. I do extensive testing to achieve the colors and surfaces for my pots, and currently have a palette of eight colors I developed and chose. All of my work for bisque and glaze is fired in L & L electric kilns. I bisque both clays to cone 06 and glaze fire to cone 7, approximately 2170 degrees Fahrenheit.