Thank you for supporting an artist with an invisible illness. Unfortunately my process is long and tedious in itself but also hindered by my health so my actual production is few and far between! I have struggled with Eosinophilic Esophagitis, an allergic autoimmune disease similar to Celiac since I was a teen. I have also been dealing with Chronic Migraine disease, New Daily Persistent Headache, spinal disc issues, dystonia, car accident/concussion, and associated depression. After my brief attempt at a Bachelors of fine arts at Pennsylvania College of art and Design in Lancaster PA, I was looking for a stress outlet and found Lancaster Clay Studios (previously in Manheim, PA, now in Landisville) which I spent my time from 2007-2016. It took me a few years to get comfortable with the medium but soon found my passion in wood fired ceramics. I learned everything I could from the great resources at Baltimore Clayworks doing Community firings and kiln building workshops. My affinity for Chemistry lead me in the last two years to take a major online course in Ceramic Glaze Chemistry from Ceramic Materials Workshop by Matt & Rose Katz. It has blown the lid off my art possibilities for the future and lead me to make better choices in how I construct my clay and surfaces. I have not started mixing my own glazes at home yet but am trying to amass the funds over time to do so. I mostly take part in local craft fairs and galleries when I can but my energy level and diet severely limit my travel radius. My art has evolved in a few directions because of my health and creative process. I now have my own studio space at my home. Please read about my process :)
WF - All pendants with this on the tag are wood fired to cone 10-12 2350f
E6 - All pendants with this on the tag are glaze fired in my electric kiln to cone 6 2165f
All of my ceramic vessels and sculpture are started on the wheel or hand built and carved/altered. I use high fire porcelain clay and various stoneware clay in the base forms and sometimes use porcelain slip over top of the stoneware. All of the carving and shaping can take anywhere from 3-15+ hours. I use a variety of glazes; shino, celadon, wood ash, tenmoku, and microcrystalline. Most of my larger work (anything not a pendant) is wood fired, in a two chamber noborigama style wood kiln. Wood is the only fuel used in the firing process, final temperature is around 2350 degrees fahrenheit. The loading of wares into the kiln can take anywhere from 5-10 hours, by 10-20 artists (in community firings) and hundreds of pieces of ceramic art. The firing process, done in shifts, involves stoking, moving wood, sorting wood, and monitoring the cones (heat-work measurement gauges for ceramics firing, located inside the kiln on several shelves throughout, checked periodically for movement to clue the workers to any stoke frequency changes and to adjust the air intake or chimney damper to change the atmosphere inside the kiln.) the firing taking on average 22-27 hours and cool down taking around 2-3 days. I have fired with many different groups of people from 2008-2016 in community firings, at Baltimore Clayworks (Mount Washington, MD) and Chester Springs Studio (Historic Yellow Springs, Chester, PA.) I also helped in construction with both of the wood kilns I've fired in. I would try to wood fire once or twice a year, when I had amassed enough work to get a share, and then if am physically able to, as they involve quite a bit of effort and travel. I haven't done much wood firing in the past 5 years, health problems and most recently a car accident in 2016, which was quite a set back to some progress I was making. So I've been focusing more on smaller detailed works that I can fire in my electric kiln.
The process in creating the pendants starts off with cone 6 or cone 10 porcelain. They are all hand made and formed, I have created some silicone press molds for some of the newer pieces, first making the design in a oil based wax clay, and creating a negative with the silicone. They do however involve quite a bit of post mold work, compressing, hollowing out, carving finer details/designs and connection points for the mount while they are dry. I sand and smooth the edges, and either hand paint an engobe/slip in certain areas for color contrast or use a combination of glazes and underglazes. They are then bisque fired as I would any larger greenware piece. For glazing cone 6 work I use several different commercial glazes from Amaco, Duncan, Coyote. Once glazed, I place them on individual metal wire stilts, protecting both the shelves and pieces from sticking together and causing damage. Most if not all the pieces call for post firing work to be done on them, either some grinding and wet sanding; then mounted with copper or silver-plated wire rings and soldered, then the necklaces (suede or poly/hemp fiber) are assembled by me.