The inspiration for this body of work comes from the hay bales that are multiplying on our landscape and a gift from a friend who visited Japan.
In creating a series of boxes, I wanted to provide a tactile connection with the person and the clay. Something that a person would want to pick up and hold in their hand. A sculpture with a function to provide a container for a paper clip or a wish.
The glazes I have used are a derivation of an old Japanese glaze of feldspar and clay called “Shino.” The new “American Shinos” combine different clays to give color effect and sodium carbonate (salt), which acts as flux, helping the glaze melt. The sodium carbonate has an added bonus of capturing the soot from the firing and encapsulating it within the glaze.
After glazing and before firing, the boxes were wrapped with a strip of plastic to force the evaporating sodium carbonate to the edges of the plastic, creating a heavier concentrated area of salt, thereby trapping more soot in an accent line.
Since the boxes were glazed in the round, I used the Japanese trick of keeping them off the kiln shelf with a seashell. Seashells are calcium carbonate and reduce to pure calcium powder when exposed to the 2300 degrees Fahrenheit the kiln produces. This powder sloughs off after firing, leaving behind the imprint of a seashell.