Anthea Bowen - Pots
I enjoy exploring different styles of slipware decoration for mugs, dishes, platters, lidded pots and jugs. Living in Cornwall we are surrounded by an abundance of nature’s colour and texture, and this is a constant source of inspiration for my work. My current slipware ranges are Seascape, reflecting the ever-changing qualities of the light on the sea and Moorland with earthy texture and golden tones. I am also developing a range called Woodland, which I hope to have on line soon.
Smoke firing creates subtle variations of surface colour, achieved by placing different combustible elements into the firing pit with the pot.
I enjoy the juxtaposition of the different processes required to create each pot. First the core shape is created either by throwing or hand building. This shape is then refined and painted with slip. The slow and meditative process of burnishing the pot takes place prior to the first firing. Finally, there is the excitement of the smoke firing process that creates spontaneous and unique marks on each vessel. The finished pots are then waxed and are wonderfully tactile.
Raku is the bling upgrade of smoke firing!
I have only taken part in a few Raku firings, but already love the process and the wonderful variety of results that the glaze, fire and smoke bring to each piece. I will be working more with Raku firings in the future.
The most important elements for me are the form of the vessel with a few added restrained marks. Then the excitement of the Raku firing works its magic with fire, smoke and alchemy … or if you are unlucky, will blast your pot to pieces! This unpredictability of the firing makes it necessary to let go of your desired outcomes and to flow with what actually transpires, and as it happens one of my favourite pieces is severly cracked but has held on to its form making it even more special!