The unpredictable is what makes smoke firing exciting for Linda Warrick, the long process of observation, hand building, burnishing and biscuit firing is rewarded by that moment when the bird emerges from the smoke, its own distinct character affected by so many factors in the firing. And it is this final moment that is so exciting to a ceramic artist, the balance between control and the magic of fire.
The serene, tactile form of Sarah Walton's bird bath pillow belies the process: "a vast, dirty, hand-built structure weighing many tons; a marathon to pack, fire and maintain. Firing it involves someone being in constant, close attention, manually directing its course over a 39 hour period; a noisy time of fierce, smoky, smelly heat, one worked in shifts by two potters."
A regular showstopper for our window display are the exquisite lustre bowls by Jonathan Chiswell Jones. These involve a third firing where silver and copper salts are deposited in a minutely thin layer and combine with the glaze. The design reflects light, and like oil on water, can break into iridescent colours. The process is uncertain and the results are a testament to Jonathan's skills.
Daphne Carnegy is a specialist in “Maiolica”, a low fired technique that gives a softness, depth and luminosity of glaze and colour not to be found in other ceramics, the transformation of the pigments in the firing as they fuse and shift with the glaze. Her bold blue and white designs reflect some of our favourite plants.
The Marshes are moody evocative places, especially early morning when our wildlife artists prefer to visit. This same sense of isolation, reminiscence and contemplation is key to understanding Rowena Brown's sculpture, look closely for the marks of abandonment and environmental damage, stand back for that moment of memory.