Truth is I don’t really like the fall season. I know, crisp air, apples, pretty leaves, bonfires, yeah, yeah. But, ever since I was a kid, it was just a reminder of impending long bouts of cold weather (I did grow up in Minnesota after all) and the return to school. What I do love though is the longer days of summer, relaxed schedules, bare feet, and the beach. So it’s at this changing time of the year that I need to give myself a new challenge, something to get me through the cold, dark days-—no, I don’t think some warm cider will do the trick.
This year I’m challenging myself to explore new surface decorating techniques for my work. Historically the surfaces on my pieces have been minimal—okay, very minimal, all white with a slightly burnished terra sigillata. I don’t imagine I will discover a secret love of embellishments, my brain just doesn’t work like that, but I do hope to expand my skill set and see how my work can grow in ways I’ve not yet explored.
It’s with this issue, which focuses on surface treatments and techniques, that I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone, and I have a lot of options to choose from: Molly Hatch shares how to make block-repeat and paper-cut patterns, Paul Andrew Wandless shows us how to emboss clay, Elisa Helland-Hansen decorates with cut coils, Rachel Donner teaches us how to relate multiple pieces using stencil decoration, Sarah Dunstan creates hand-drawn, porcelain-slip transfers, and Joe Clark (also rising to the challenge) lets go of his smooth, naked-raku finishes in favor of highly textured surfaces created with wax resist.
So you’ve heard it here, not only will I spend more time in the studio this fall, but I’m also going to try making a few marks and try even harder to leave them on the pots. Who knows? I may come to love the early evenings, thick wool socks, and cups of warm cider as I spend the cold months being a maker again.