Pottery is one of the most ancient forms of art. It was first just useful, and then somewhere along the way it became handsome, admirable for its aesthetic qualities. This beautiful hand-coiled piece by artist Judith Gary of Tucson, Ariz. is an example of how pottery was made before the invention of the potter's wheel. Built up by layering hand coils, (Remember doing this as a child?) It was then sawdust fired. Sawdust firing is a low fire method making it too porous for food use or to hold water making it for decorative use only. "Before the pot is fired, it is burnished to achieve a sheen on the surface," says Gary. It is then bisque fired to a low enough temperature to enable the surface to absorb the smoke. "You never know what design you will achieve," she says. "Potters like to call it 'the gift of the flame.'"
(c) 2006 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved