Juliet Gorman

I have been developing smoke-fired ceramics since 1994. Influences of Africa, with a contemporary interpretation, are always apparent in the work.

Strong, uncomplicated shapes lend themselves to the effect of smoke. I enjoy using traditional hand building techniques to explore form, pattern and texture.

White extra smooth Earthenware clay is used. The making is a very slow, and very tactile process. Refining the shape takes time, as does the burnishing at the leather hard stage, but it is very satisfying, watching as the form begins to take on its own character. At this stage, any colour is applied using stained terra sigilatta, underglazes and oxides.

The ceramics are fired at a temperature of 985 C in an electric kiln once the work is dried out thoroughly. Patterns and marks are applied, using tapes, horsehair and other combustible materials. The work is then smoke fired in either a tin dustbin with newspaper, or the electric kiln in foil saggars.
Each piece of ceramics is then cleaned off and beeswax applied. Any extra adornments, such as necklaces, are applied. It is only at this stage that the true nature of the work can be seen.

Each piece is an individual creation making each unique.

As with watercolours, the ceramics should not be displayed in direct sunlight, as this fades the smoke effects. Further polishing with beeswax can be done when the work begins to look dull.

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