Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Slipware in Shelby

Last week I was venturing into the world of furniture with a presentation at Winterthur's Furniture Forum on a topic near and dear to my heart, sulfur-inlaid furniture. Nerd? Yes. But sulfur inlay is amazing. Just look at this piece:
Skinner Auction: http://www.skinnerinc.com/asp/fullCatalogueSE.asp?salelot=2524B++++228+&amp%3Brefno=++877787
And in case you are interested, I've started a blog on this topic and will hope to get more images and information uploaded in the future.
Now, back to ceramics.

Closeup of one of Hannah's dishes
About a week and a half ago (yikes, time flies) I had the pleasure of going to a workshop with presentations by potters Hannah McAndrew of Scotland and Doug Fitch of England.
Meet Hannah
Meet Doug
They demonstrated traditional slipware techniques which they learned as apprentices and through research and work with archaeological materials. I was so thrilled to learn that Doug works with archaeological material. He did a good presentation on the historical pieces from the Devonshire area and talked about those influences on his work and wares. Here are a few photos of Hannah doing slip work on a puzzle jug Doug made. Doug and Hannah did a nice back and forth of making pieces and decorating their own and each other's work.

Hannah applies her slip trailing on a wet surface of white slip
I love the feet on this bird!I also enjoyed watching her combine fine dotting along with trailing and some combing
Doug demonstrated a technique which was historically used in Devonshire. It involved applying leaves with slip from the same clay the body of the piece was made of. Then he dipped the entire piece in white slip, waited for it to set up, and removed the leaves. It left great impressions of the leaves on the piece. This would be a fun technique to test out sometime.
Doug applying leaves to the pitcher
Doug removing the leaves, showing the impression left  
He also showed his techniques of removing the thick white slip on the surface with a variety of tools creating a decorative surface.
The swiftness with which Doug applied these decorations was fascinating. 
Hannah made a large dish by throwing a base and then adding two large coils for the side and marly. She said she usually applies it as one large coil, but in this case had two separate coils which she overlapped and joined. 
Hannah placing the coils
Hannah throwing the side and marly after the coils were compressed onto the base
Doug made some really beautiful pitchers/jugs. I enjoyed watching him make nice stout handles. I especially enjoyed watching him neck the vessel and make the rim and spout/lip. Watching Doug make spouts and rims made me think more about my own spouts and rims. I have never really been satisfied with how I make spouts, so I may try the way he made spouts in order to see whether that fits the pieces better and feels better to manufacture.
Doug attaching and pulling handle
Doug demonstrating the traditional rolled coil found at the terminal of handles on historic pieces
Close-up of the coil
This was a wonderful workshop, it was great to meet Hannah and Doug, and I look forward to staying in touch with them and following their work. Special thanks to Ron Philbeck for arranging the North Carolina leg of their trip, I'm glad they were nearby!


Hannah said...

Hey thank you! Lovely write up, much appreciated and really great to meet you the other week.
best wishes,

doug Fitch said...

Yey! Thank you indeed. Very best wishes, Doug

Ron said...

Great post. It was so nice to have you at the workshop. Keep in touch. Ron

Liberty Stoneware said...

It was so lovely to meet you both, Hannah and Doug. Thank you for gracing us all with your presence! And Ron it was a pleasure to talk with you more. I hope I can be a part of working to have more workshops like this in the future and making national and international connections among potters and a variety of techniques and approaches. So much to learn!