Last month I set myself a making experiment.
I have an idea for new work that requires joining two types of clay but because shrinkage rates differ, joining two clay bodies can lead to cracking, so much testing is required (again). I have been a "porcelain princess" for quite a while now so unwrapping a bag of Feeneys Buff Raku Trachyte (BRT) in my studio had me slightly aghast and I thought to myself - hmm, best get familiar with this clay body before leaping into anything.
Enter the making experiment....
I decided to make a quick tableware collection that was simply intuitive. Not planned, sketched, measured, considered and dissected but drawing on an inherent knowledge of sizes and forms with the understanding that the end results did not matter. Not since my early days as a potter have I given myself such freedom. I threw quickly and loosely, turned ruggedly, glazed haphazardly and fired, well I fired like I always do, you can't mess with everything.
Apart from exfoliating fingerprints away it's a whole lot of fun to work with BRT. It's gritty, open texture means forms take shape rapidly and the turning leads to quite remarkable surface finishes. I used a cream coloured, satin glaze that was lying around, rather than start experimenting again, and fired the whole lot, small and big bowls, beakers and mugs, cups, saucers and plates, in one kiln load... without testing!
The results are rustic to say the least and the naivety of the pieces remind me of work I made while studying. And my goodness, are they spotty! I took some home to see how they looked away from the studio and they seem to be slowly creeping into daily family usage. The rims are chunky, the bases had to be ground with a Dremel but I have to say... I quite like them.