Saturday, October 12, 2013
All is Revealed!
It is a great pleasure to have Peter Johnson making seals and other good things in our studio here at the Waikouaiti Old Post Office.
The first task is to prepare some clay to even out the moisture in it and get rid of any trapped air.
Then Peter makes a cylinder with an open bottom and a closed top on the potters wheel. To begin with this looks a bit like a mug. The cylinder flares out a little way before it is raised further and pulled in at the top. Then the clay at the top is persuaded in further and further, with the opening narrowing, then finally closing.
The cylinders are put aside to firm up.
When the clay is soft leather hard the missile shaped cylinder is altered by hand, and made into a seal or sea lion. Most of the work can be done by squeezing and manipulating the clay with fingers. Detail can be added with improvised wooden tools.
When the seal is leather hard Slip (liquid clay) is brushed onto parts of the seal to modify the colour and surface texture.
When completely dry the seal is fired in a portable raku kiln that is fired by gas.
Working with clay is all about transformation. What is commonplace, and sometimes despised, is made beautiful by skillful hands, an enquiring mind, and a joyful heart!