Joyce creates fanciful, functional and raku forms, decorating some with different pierced patterns. To others she adds hand-formed figures or mixed media. Her original glazes are carefully chosen for color. Nature provides inspiration of shapes, fauna or flora.
Raku is a form of firing pottery. Work is made with the firing method in mind. Pieces are bisqued and glazed with various raku glazes and fired to 1750°F. When this temperature is reached and the glazes are shiny the door of the kiln is opened. Pieces are taken out one at a time to be smoked or flamed depending on the desired effect.
Because of the nature of this “after fire,” the glazes have a wide range of colors with some predictability. Many things affect this. Position in the kiln, in what order it was removed (this depends on the temperature of the piece upon removal), the temperature of the air, the wind, the humidity, and how effective the after fire is. Much is the gift of the after fire and how I address it.
The shiny glazed vessels are put in a smoking chamber and buried in sawdust, then the chamber is closed to produce the smoke. This method produces copper any times with mixed blues and greens. The matt glazed vessels are put in a chamber with a small amount of sawdust and a fire is encouraged around it. This method often produces a myriad of colors.
I do many with both methods in combination which is much more challenging. Also on many piece I decorate with a variety of beads, cord, horse hair, found feathers and/or faux fur.
Raku artwork is strictly one of a kind.
|This first photo shows me putting various pieces into the kiln I built. They have been bisqued (the first firing, sets pots up to be glazed), glazed and ready to be loaded in the kiln. The large kiln is a gas fired and takes about 3-4 hours to fire, reaching 1750°F. The large white pot I am handling is white clay and will be followed throughout these photos.|
|At this point, the kiln has reached 1750°F and the door has begun to be taken down. You can see how hot the fire is. The pot we are following is in the right hand corner.|
|This photo show the kiln with the door fully taken down, giving me full access to take the pots out. I use tongs for the most part, but large sculptural pieces are picked up by hand using heavy Kevlar gloves.|
|Next stage of Raku firing is removing the pieces from the kiln and putting them into some combustible material. I place them in "smoking chambers" containing sawdust which immediately ignites. I then dump more sawdust on top of the pot and close the lid. Without oxygen, the chamber smokes bringing out all the lush colors and trapping carbon in the exposed clay.|
|Now, I'm covering the pot with more sawdust and how immediately the sawdust ignites. It is a tall piece, so the smoking chamber is set a bit on its side. Once enough sawdust is added, the can is covered and up-righted.|
|Here is the finished product. It has been scrubbed with soap and steel wool, then sealed to keep the colors from fading. The glazes are a wonderful mix of copper, blues, pinks and white crackle. The exposed clay is quite black.|
I have been in the art field all my life, taking art education in college. I soon developed skills in pottery. But a close friend coaxed me into an oil painting class in January 2019. Well, I hadn’t oil painted since college. I love it! I surprised myself that I am good at it. Take a look. See what you think.