In December 2009, Big Hill Pottery opened.
Working with new clay, new glazes and a rebuilt kiln - and Linda's 25+ years of experience/ cumulative inspiration - it's a ball!
Throwing on the wheel has always been my main passion. I love the sensual nature of clay. There is such a deep sense of satisfaction within me when I prepare balls of clay and head to the wheel - it still has a magical quality for me. I use porcelain clay, mainly because I love the whiteness in the fired state, and the light quality when glazed.
I tend to work in series, and in a rhythm that allows me to throw enough to fill a bisque kiln, which can usually yield 2 glaze kilns. I'll vary the forms and items, but usually work in terms of how many of a certain item fits on a ware board! For example, I can get 12 mugs on a ware board and I most often make 3-5 ware boards worth of mugs at a time. Throwing enough work in a day to allow for the drying process is often the challenge.
I like being able to trim the work while it is still quite soft and easily trimmed. Also, adding handles is more successful when the work is still a bit on the soft side. For the past couple of years I've been doing most of the decoration while the piece is still soft. Using stamps for example, or at the leather hard stage, when I'm carving the design into the piece. My inspiration is wide and varied…. simple symbols are often used.
I am drawn to pattern making and have been influenced over the years by many other potter's work, and also historic pottery, particularly work from places like Iran, China and Japan. I also enjoy hand building, using slabs of clay, either to drape over a mould or slump into a mould. Creating larger pieces using leather hard slabs is also something I love - hand building offers a slower pace and can be very relaxing. All the pieces are glazed in one of the 4-5 glazes that I make from scratch in the studio. Glaze exploration has been occupying my time a great deal lately.
Previously, I used only a base white glaze and paint on top with stains, very similar to a majolica technique. However, I've become more interested lately in exploring textures and what glazes do on a stamped or carved surface! I am getting some very exciting results. Glaze chemistry is a struggle but one that I am enjoying immensely. All my work is fired in oxidation (electric kiln) to cone 6. All glazes are food safe and the work is oven proof, microwave and dishwasher safe.