Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Influence of Clays

It is so amazing to me how different something as basic as clay can be.

And just as amazing the kind of response I get and give when exploring it.

I've been making test tiles from three Laguna clays: Hawaiian Red, B3 Brown and Hagi porcelain.

I cut out 2" x 4" glaze tiles, smoothed them, cut hanging holes in the top and labeled the backs with the clay name and the cone temperature. And, since I hate monotony, after I've done those, I just HAVE to do something different with each clay sample.

So I listened.

With Hawaiian Red, a small constructed house was called for.

The black /brown B3 Brown demanded an oval cup.

The Hagi called for a medium sized free-form vessel. Very thin, very suave.


I wonder. If we wrote about clay like we write about wine, what would we say?

Hawaiian Red: The very essence of earth. Rich, red, robust, Adam-esque and basic. Elemental and strong. Muscular, robust. Stands on it's own two feet. Get down and dirty with it, make it shout it's name.

B3 Brown: Warm, mailable, responds luxuriously to your hand--nearly purrs. Pliable, but shows bit of spirit. Virtuoso abilities, but handle with care, could be a flash of temperament. Sassy yet holds the promise of a soft, rich surface. May change in texture and pliability if overworked. Understand it and the rewards could be stunning.

Hagi porcelain: Schizophrenic aristocrat. Resistive and aloof at first, relaxes and offers incredible surfaces after worked for a while. Has the promise of elegance, but must be carefully handled. A mystery clay to be understood, handled gingerly, babied and respected or it will pout, then flounce out in a huff.

1 comment:

chaetoons said...

Love your wine analogy! Fun.