Keith Smith: Pottery

Colyton, Devon

All my pots are hand thrown in my garden workshop in Colyton. They are made from stoneware clay fired to about 1280 degrees centigrade. The atmosphere in the kiln during the firing is starved of oxygen (this is termed a reduced or reduction firing). The reduction of oxygen means that in order for the gas to combust fully it draws oxygen atoms from the surface of the glaze, chemically altering the glaze constituents and producing colours not available if more oxygen was present.
My glazes are mixed by hand to recipes I have developed over the years and most use wood ash as a main ingredient. Sources of wood ash vary, wood burners or bonfires etc, and so wood ash introduces an element of unpredictability. This coupled with brushed or poured slip on the surface of the pot prior to glazing provides (hopefully), a lively and interesting glaze surface.
It is perfectly possible to produce rows of standardized pots with unvarying glazes but my nature forces me to avoid uniformity, even though by doing so I end up with more seconds than you can shake a stick at.