Categories
experiments Outside

Smoke fired pottery

In an attempt to add further depth to my ceramic surfaces, I’ve been messing about with fire in the Pottery garden.

pottery fish and pottery experiments being smoke fired on a bbq

I had dabbled with smoke firing once before in my role as an artist in residence at Evesham Nursery School. I have very fond memories of working with the staff and children in their amazing Forest School site on the outskirts of town.

The young artists had great fun painting thick wet slip onto bisque pots they’d created on one of my previous visits to the Nursery.

 

Once the pots, leaves, staff and children’s faces! had been daubed in slip, we set about building a fire around the pots, watching as the flames and smoke curled around the children’s creations.

When the fire had died down, we carefully extracted the scorching pots using raku tongs and plunged them into a bucket of water, admiring the sizzling, bubbling and frothing as they sunk to the bottom.

As soon as the pots were cool enough to handle, the children set about removing ash and scrubbing away the painted slip to reveal the pale terracotta – a terrific contrast to the blackened, smoked areas of the unmasked surface.

I remember being encouraged and inspired by the children’s results and keen to try out the process for myself. Unfortunately, as with a lot of things, I never seemed to find the time to explore the technique. That is until Lock down! 

I discovered an amazing website called Ceramic Arts Network, packed full with articles and accessible features. My fave being how to smoke fire pots on a BBQ!

garden bbq filled with ceramic experiments by artist jon williams

I have learnt so much from the first firing (thermal shock can be so frustrating!) and am looking forward to trying again using saggars to protect and pattern the work.

smoke fired pottery experiments by jon williams

Categories
experiments work in progress

Disintegration pots

These poor little fellas have been thrown, slipped, cut, stretched and pulled apart on the potter’s wheel!

I’m enjoying seeing how far I can push the material with the aim to capture or preserve the point of disintegration. It’s a tricky balance to strike and I probably loose a third of what I’m making?

Anyway, it’s great fun and very rewarding when you get one that stands up. Each pot is truly individual and I’m considering smoke firing them to add a further layer of randomness!

detail of disintergration pots by jon williams

Categories
artist work in progress

Just for fun!

Sometimes it’s just nice to see what the stuff can do!

artist jon williams making a pot on the potter's wheel at eastnor potteryjon williams from eastnor pottery making a pot on the potters wheeljon the potter making a very wobbly pot on the potter's wheel

Categories
Interactive art social engagement

Making Together

Throwback Thursday: Making Together at Birmingham Settlement 2018

This was a year-long programme of inter-generational making based activity initiated by Craftspace and took place at Birmingham Settlement.

I was one of six makers who got to work with early-years children (0-5 years) and their families in an open-ended way, exploring the processes and techniques of our chosen art form. The project provided an opportunity for children, parents, carers and grandparents to explore and make together.

There were three sets of workshops, each focusing on a different material: Textiles, Metal and Clay. Two makers collaborated on each set. I partnered with Joanna Dawidowska, a ceramic artist based in Burton Upon Trent. The workshops took place during spring and early summer 2018. All the sessions were free to attend.

By way of a legacy, each lead artist produced an activity kit handed over to the Centre at the end of the project. This was to enable the early years practitioners, parents and children to carry on the exploratory play work once the project had concluded.clay stamps made on making together project at birmingham settlement and craftspaceclay kit made by ceramic artist jon williams for craftspace making together projectclay stamps made by making together participants at birmingham settlement

I really enjoyed putting the clay kit together and encouraged parents to make their own clay stamps and mark making implements to accompany all the other stuff.

Artist, model & photographer Liz Ord took some cracking pictures of the clay sessions.

Further details of the project can be viewed on the Craftspace website.