Updated: Nov 2
Artist Talk at Pinckney Clay is free and open to the public!
Nov 10th, 7-9pm. Light refreshments will be provided.
Ian Hazard-Bill grew up in Northern California and fell in love with ceramics in High School. He continued his artistic growth while acting as an apprentice to Seth Cardew, completing a BA in ceramics from Evergreen and participating in artist’s residencies at Cub Creek Foundation and Mendocino Art Center. He has shown work nationally in group and juried shows and is currently represented by several galleries. He recently relocated to Helper, Ut from Mendocino where he’ll be setting up his own studio and focusing on his studio work.
Wood Fire Pottery
The transformation that clay undergoes in a wood kiln is unlike any other type of kiln. The ash, smoke and heat of a wood fire bring out expressions of the clay that can range from subtle muted colors to rich bright flowing glazes. I favor firings that last between 3-8 days because the prolonged firing allows for a richer interaction between the clay, ash, smoke, coals, and heat. Over multiple days wood ash that accumulates on the surface of the clay fuses with the clay and melts. As we hold the kiln at this melting point (between 2000 and 2400 F) more ash sticks to the glassy surface and the glaze begins to drip down around the form. If enough glaze builds up it can collect into big glassy jewels on the bottom of the piece. Wood smoke also plays a huge role in the transformation of the clay, due to the lack of oxygen in the kiln the fire will pull oxygen out of the clay itself altering the colors of the clay and the glass, this is called reduction. The slight variations of oxygen levels in the flames can create beautiful bands of color, records of the flame’s path across the clay’s surface. Coal beds that build up over the course of the firing create a unique type of reduction that will show up often as matte blue and purple hues. These are basic descriptions of important factors that must be considered when firing wood kilns. The location and orientation of each piece will determine the final results and will even impact the pieces next to it. The nature of these firings is highly variable and for that reason the most stunning results are fortuitous. Managing all of the variables of the firing over 7 days with a crew of artists is no easy task and even in the most successful firings, only a small handful of pieces will form the large glass “jewels”. For this reason the pieces that carry “jewels” and/or express particularly rich flashing colors are sought after rarities. Even though most of the pieces won’t display these spectacular finishes. I often find the subtle quieter surfaces overlooked at first glance will reveal a contemplative depth and complexity with a more thorough look. In my time firing wood kilns I’ve learned to find the edges of the different kiln environments where pieces will express both the subtle/quiet and bright/stunning moods of a wood kiln.
Statement Pottery lives in a wonderful place in people's lives, with food and family and friends, at the heart of the meaning of Home. The beauty of a pot relies on its visual and formal balance and, most importantly, is experienced in its impeccable function. In this function it serves us in moments of joy and grief, reverence and celebration, in quiet reflective moods as well as the important momentous occasions. In this time of mass production and artificial reality I see more and more need for the values and qualities of handmade everyday objects. These handmade objects bring humanity and creativity into our daily lives and connect us to a different sense of materialism, where the material objects that support our lives carry meaning, memory and connect us to the world. Clay as a material is infinitely malleable and demanding, it can be made into just about anything you can imagine but will test your skill, sensitivity, and patience. Clay is intricately related to all of our cultural and technological evolution over the centuries of humanity. I try to honor the material and all of its malleability, its cultural contexts, and significance in my work. I have a deep reverence for the material and attempt to honor that reverence with sensitivity to the use it will perform and the relationship it will form with its user.