Each piece begins with a lump of porcelain. If I am making jewelry or wall piece components, the lump is quite small, and I use the “throwing off the hump” method. For all other pieces, I center a bigger piece of clay on a plaster bat on the wheel and for large serving bowls, an even bigger piece. I enjoy making work in a variety of scale.
Once I center the piece of clay on the wheel, I form a cylinder. This is the basis for most wheel thrown pots. When I have established the cylinder, I pull the clay up, compressing and thinning the walls of the cylinder with each pull. As I pull, I begin to shape the vessel toward its final curvature. While the clay is wet and on the wheel, I alter the piece, usually with my fingers, to establish fresh curves and undulations. When the piece is leather hard, I will trim a foot. After a bisque firing, I pour and dip glazes. When the glaze is dry, I fire the piece again in a much hotter kiln with a slow cooling cycle, to encourage microcrystalline growth in the glaze which reflects light and gives the vessel a glow like wet skin.
My method of working is direct and deliberate. I do not overwork the clay, as porcelain rapidly absorbs water and gets fatigued quickly. My favorite tools are my hands, as well as MudTools ribs, shark tool, sponges and cutoff wire. I use Laguna #550 porcelain, which I fire in my Skutt electric kiln to cone 06 bisque, and 1260 degrees Celsius glaze fire.