Red clays, those rich in iron, evoke warmth and familiarity. Working in a range of firing temperatures and atmospheric processes, and with differing conceptual content, the artists featured in this issue who regularly use iron-rich clay bodies in their practices cite specific connotative and pragmatic reasons for their choice of clay.
For a few of the artists featured, the sourcing of their clay is critical to their artistic research and intention. By using clay from their surrounding areas or opting for small-mined dry materials, they minimize their environmental impact while utilizing the vernacular of geology as a layer of meaning. Lindsay Rogers centers her practice on connection, reciprocity, and the dynamic between food production and consumption. Brandon Reintjes discusses how and to what end Rogers applies silhouette imagery of thoughtfully paired plants onto robust wares made of consciously developed clay bodies. For Zoë Powell, harvesting clay has become a teachable skill that she readily shares in workshops. In her own work, as described by Lilianne Milgrom, unglazed clay is used to abstract nature in seed-like, biological sculptures.
Ashlyn Pope, whose vase is shown on this issue’s cover, creates functional and sculptural vessels with decorative elements that reference Gullah culture, communication, and African American identity. Glen R. Brown notes that the brown stoneware of Pope’s autobiographical work is reminiscent of skin and body.
Glen R. Brown also shares a discussion of Liz Pechacek’s evolving artistic practice. Pechacek uses mid-range porcelain and rich, dark stoneware in sculptural and functional pieces that incorporate layers—of material, texture, line, and meaning—revealing her background as a printmaker.
In the Spotlight, Ben Carter of Tales of a Red Clay Rambler answers our questions on the impact of eleven years producing a ceramics-focused podcast and what’s to come in the future.
Margaret Kinkeade shares a process for establishing uniformity across a batch of matched vessels by casting multiple plaster hump molds from a single secondhand dish. By making in sets, the subtle differences in each related form are allowed to shine. Additionally, I’m thrilled to announce that Margaret has joined the editorial staff of Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated as assistant editor!
This issue also includes insights from Mike Dodd’s expansive career, an examination of Kelly Austin’s multi-part still lifes, a glimpse into Glynnis Lessing’s converted dairy barn studio in Minnesota, technical information on glaze faults, and more. Enjoy!