Abbie Thomson (ceramics)

I am once again looking forward to sharing with BOSCO participants the explorations I have been making in my clay studio. I create terra cotta clay vessels which I fire inside saggars, which are lidded ceramic containers somewhat larger than the vessels.

To prepare a piece for the saggar, I burnish the red clay vessel with a small stone, and brush a selection of surface areas of the vessel with white terra sigillata slip. I wrap copper wire and other materials onto the piece, and put it into its own saggar with wood shavings sprinkled with minerals like copper carbonate and salt.

As the kiln is fired, the combustible materials fume and smoke. They swirl around the vessel inside the closed saggar, influenced by how hot the kiln is and for how long it is fired. An atmosphere of oxygen reduction is created and the resulting carbon and mineral deposition is accepted onto the original red clay and the white burnished areas and onto the various vessel forms in unique ways, revealing an interaction of air, fire, and earth elements.

When I work with these processes, I discover dimensions of complexity created by a synergy of technique, materials, heat and time. I am striving to generate perceptual space for engagement of the viewer’s imagination on the surface of these vessels.

Please come to my studio and see if this work resonates with you.

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