Missouri Artist On Main 315 – 321 South Main St., St. Charles MO 63301
(636) 724-1260 http://www.maomgallery.com/
Types of Pottery
Pottery usually falls into three main classes—porous-bodied pottery, stoneware, and porcelain. Raw clay is transformed into a porous pottery when it is heated to a temperature of about 500 degrees Celsius. This pottery, unlike sun-dried clay, retains a permanent shape and does not disintegrate in water. Porous bodied pottery is not waterproof, meaning that liquids will leak through the body of the pot. Stoneware is produced by raising the temperature, and porcelain is baked at still greater heat. In these two processes the clay becomes vitrified (able to hold liquid), or glassy, and the strength of the pottery is increased.
Pottery is one of the most enduring materials known to humankind. In most places it is the oldest and most widespread art; primitive peoples the world over have fashioned pots and bowls of baked clay for their daily use. Prehistoric (sometimes Neolithic) remains of pottery, e.g., in Scandinavia, England, France, Italy, Greece, and North and South America, have proved of great importance in archaeology and have often supplied a means of dating and establishing an early chronology. Some of the oldest pottery has been found in Japan and China, dated to at least 16,000 and 20,000 years old respectively. Pottery has also been of value as historical and literary records; ancient Assyrian and Babylonian writings have been inscribed upon clay tablets. Simple geometric patterns in monochrome, polychrome, or incised work are common to pottery of prehistoric and primitive cultures.
American art pottery flourished in the first half of the 20th cent., with works created by a variety of artisans, many of whom were employed by companies such as the Rookwood Pottery and Cincinnati Art Pottery. Much collected in the decades that followed, this art pottery was created in such styles as art nouveau, arts and crafts, and art deco. In addition, many of the major artists of the 20th cent. created exquisite ceramic works. Especially notable are those by Picasso, Matisse, and Miro. In spite of the continuing development of mass-production techniques and synthetic materials, the demand for hand-crafted ware of fine quality has not diminished. A variety of artisans make utilitarian objects as well as works of art using many methods of pottery production.
Missouri Artist On Main exhibits several different techniques of modern American pottery. One way of differentiating between these is to define the work by the type of kiln in which the pottery is fired.
American Raku by MAOM potter Holly Deckard
American-style raku differs in a number of ways from traditional Japanese Raku, notably the rich black surface produced by smoking the ware outside the kiln at the end of firing, and the fact that American raku remains porous. Other innovations include the quenching of the red-hot vessel in cold water, the production of brilliant and many-colored copper lustres, the forced crackling of the glaze with smoke penetration, the white line halo or ghost image surrounding a black metallic decoration, and the discovery of a copper slip that sometimes results in an unusual yellow matte surface.
American Raku by MAOM potter Holly Deckard with examples of copper luster.
In the spirit of raku, one must embrace the element of surprise. There can be no fear of losing what was once planned and there must be an urge to grow along with the discovery of the unknown. In the spirit of raku, make no demands, expect nothing, follow no absolute plan, be secure in change. Learn to accept another solution, and prefer to gamble on intuition. American raku is still porous meaning that the object is not vitrified thus not able to hold liquid. American raku is prized for its decorative element rather than function.
Reduction Fired pottery
Reduction fired porcelain dinnerware by MAOM potter Angel Brame.
There are many factors to consider when it comes to firing your pottery in a kiln. The term reduction refer to how much oxygen is in the kiln’s atmosphere while the kiln is firing. An oxidation atmosphere has plenty of oxygen for the fuel to burn. A reduction atmosphere occurs when the amount of available oxygen is reduced.
Reduction fired porcelain baking dish by MAOM potter Angel Brame.
Fire requires oxygen to burn. When there is a lack of oxygen, the fuel does not burn completely and the kiln atmosphere becomes filled with free carbon. The free carbon atoms will aggressively grab up any oxygen atoms they can find. In fact, carbon atoms are so oxygen-hungry that they are able to break molecular bonds. The carbon literally robs the clay and glaze materials of their oxygen. When the carbon reduces the amount of oxygen in the clay and glaze molecules, the colors and textures of the clays and glazes can change. These changes can sometimes be quite dramatic.
Jar by MAOM potter Clinton Berry fired in a wood fueled kiln. No glazes were applied on the exterior of the pot. The surface color and texture was created by the interaction of the ash from the wood as well as the path of the flame during the firing process.
Atmosphere, in regards to firing ceramics, has to do with the type and quality of the air in the kiln during the firing process. The chemicals, compounds, and mixtures of elements present combine with the clays, slips and glazes on the work to create colors, textures, and surface depth. Atmosphere affects the general surface of the work.
Today atmospheric firings refer to wood, soda, and salt firings that utilize both reduction and oxidation atmospheres but essentially create glaze in the kiln in a more interactive way. Different chemical elements are introduced to the kiln in process. The style and configuration of the kiln affects the possibilities of the surfaces.
Wood fired kilns deposit ash, calcium, salts and minerals from the different woods, which form their own natural ash glazes.
Wood fired teapot by MAOM potter Clinton Berry, natural ash glaze.
Sodium vapor kilns (soda and salt firings) deposit salts and vapors which combine with the clay, glazes and slips on the pots to produce vibrant color. The color range of the two processes is very different. One aspect similar to both wood and soda is their organic nature. The work from these kilns can have a naturalness to the surface color and texture.
MAOM is open seven days a week. Please stop by to see the work of over forty Missouri artists working in many different mediums.