Jim's Process

My pottery is hand-built from coils of earthenware.  The process is slow, cialis generic sickness contemplative, sovaldi and rewarding. Once I’ve formed the curve foot of the pot and created a bowl-shaped form, I attach coils of clay.  An inch or two at a time, the pot grows.  Keeping the top-most edge of the pot’s clay wet enough to easily attach the next coil while letting the bottom part dry enough to support the weight near the top is a careful balance.  I  scrape the pot’s surface to keep it smooth as I go.  I use a paddle to cajole the pot’s profile into something that seems to make sense.  (It is a million visions and revisions, Prufrock might say.) Once the pot’s form is complete and leather-hard, I scrape the surface to remove a millimeter here and there.  Then, I paint on layers of clay slip containing various minerals and stains to color the pot’s surface.  (Some of the most beautiful oranges come from a slip made from a lump of clay that I found washed up on the beach in Ocean Isle, NC!) I made each of these clay slips, or terra sigillata, by mixing clay and pigments with lots of water, letting the slip settle for a day or so, and then siphoning off the top-most layer, with the smallest clay particles. The small clay particles of the terra sigillata, when painted onto the pot, settle into tiny pits on the surface of the clay and create a uniform shiny surface even before firing.  (Usually roughly translated as ‘sealed earth’, the meaning of ‘terra sigillata’ is ‘clay bearing little images’ (Latin sigilla)).

Once the pots have been dried and fired in a kiln to a bisque temperature, the pyromaniac in me gets to take over.  To achieve the smoky gray and black swirls and patterns, I pack the pots into a container and surround them with leaves, grass, paper, yarn and whatever other interesting dry materials I can find.  I ignite the top of the pile and as the flames and smoke make their way down to the bottom, they leave their smoky trace in the porous surface of the pots.  While still almost too hot to handle, I add a thin layer of wax to the outer surface to seal the smoky patterns in place and to add just a bit more shine.  Lately, I’ve been adding smidgens of opalescent color to some of the final wax coating.