Process

dig your own clay

I make my work from wild clay (which I dig near my home in Sussex), and from wild, foraged, native plant fibres: bramble, reed mace, tree bark, grasses, dog rose, rush…

These materials give a natural vibrancy and rich texture. Each piece unique, each connected directly to the land. Echoes of ancient processes.

Textures of wild clay, bonfire-fired, clamp kiln-fired. Smoke clouds imprinted on the pot surface from the fire; every pot is unpredictable, every firing a leap of faith.

reed mace, cattail harvest

What does it mean to have an intimate connection to the plants, seasons and land where we find ourselves? There is an embodied process in harvesting and using foraged materials. A rhythm and relationship inherent in the act of making. It’s a counterpoint to the pull of our increasingly digitalised and disconnected lifestyles.

Willow bark, leaves of iris and lily, reed mace: rich and tactile. Responding to the seasonal variations, a dialogue between hands and plants. Read more about my process of foraging plants.

Process images of wild clay firings:

wild clay sussex
Clay dug from the Sussex woods.
clay tools
Bone & wood tools. Pots are all hand-built in the studio using slab and coiling techniques, then beaten to refine the shape.
Firings are all done in the woods. Lighting the fire using flint and steel: a small spark is caught on wild clematis bark. This fragile ember coaxed into a larger blaze, fed with local oak wood.
wild pottery course sussex
Open firing: a short, fast firing with great thermal shock: the original, ancient way.
clamp kiln firing sussex
Clamp kiln firing: for these pots, earth is piled on top of the fire at the right moment and then allowed to continue burning for a day or two.
Opening the clamp kiln: each piece has its own surface colouration, smoke clouds, permanent markings from the fire. An unpredictable process, many uncontrollable variables.

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Know the ways of the ones who take care of you. Introduce yourself. Be accountable as the one who comes asking for life. Ask permission before taking. Abide by the answer. Give thanks for what you have been given. Give a gift, in reciprocity, for what you have taken.

Quote from ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall-Kilmmerer

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