Al Scovern - Belfast, Maine
West Third Ceramics
Most of my firing methods begin with a pot that is thrown with a surface as thin and smooth as I can make it. After trimming and drying, the pot is brushed with several layers of terra sigillata, an ultra fine liquid slip, and polished to a shiny surface. Pots are then bisque fired to cone 09 or 010.
What happens next is a matter of choice, informed by the shape of the pot. Some pots are coated with a thick slip or slip and glaze that will crack in firing and provide entry points for carbon in a controlled post-firing reduction. Others are placed in saggars, either aluminum foil or clay containers, along with organic materials and metallic salts which burn and fume during firing. Still others are fired as they are and decorated with post-firing carbon trails or blackened entirely in a reduction container. Flame, smoke, and fumes produce pots that are either black and white or earth-toned in red, yellow, and silver. Occasionally I use glaze on pots, but sparingly and as an accent.
Each low temperature, fast fired bare clay pot is a unique product of unpredictable, spontaneous, and natural firing processes. Related to methods that are commonly referred to as Raku, these pots are created for your aesthetic pleasure rather than functional use.