We are all fire, earth and water.
My initial attraction to clay was as simple as its touch, the sensation I received from it. What started as a simple fascination and hobby, grew into a lifestyle. At 18 I sought for a way to hone my skills and started assisting in a pottery and soon became an apprentice with Phil Echert and Paul Morris of Rockhard Stoneware. With the help of them, many other great potters and Mother Earth herself I gained the skill and inspiration to create objects of my desire.
My continuing journey for inspiration and progress has taken me many places, near and far, geographical and psychological. I like to think of my work as transforming or evolving pieces of earth, just as I am, trying to create something beautiful and substantial, that can be used in everyday life or simply admired for its elements of form, texture, and color. I do this by combining elements derived from our natural world.
The current clay body of my choice is a mid to high-fire stoneware clay Buff Stoneware. The shapes are all hand-thrown on a potter’s wheel. Sometimes multiple separate shapes are assembled and have added attachments such as pulled handles, lugs, or coils. These are for either function or adornment, and always seeking a well balanced shape.
A piece is first thrown wet, and afterwards, allowed to dry slightly. Then it is returned to the wheel where excess clay is trimmed away, shapes are assembled and handles are attached. Alterations and textures are made throughout the creation process using various found objects in combination with my hands and body. The work is then dried fully and loaded into the kiln and fired for the first time to cone 08, bisque (about 1750 degrees F). After cooling, the surface decoration and colors are added by the use of glazes made of dry chemical (mined from the earth) with colorants of tin, cobalt, iron, and copper, etc. all mixed with water to a specific consistency. Application of the glazes are done in layers with multiple techniques, such as, dunking, pouring, squirting, trailing and spraying. The glazed pieces are now ready to return to the kiln for there finalization. I fire the stoneware vessels in two main
ways : First is to a cone 9 through 11 ( about 2350 degrees F) in a reduction atmosphere kiln, primarily using natural gas, but at times propane or fired in a wood firing kiln. The reduction atmosphere is created by starving the kiln of oxygen for a period of time between specific temperatures, This, the final temp., and many other variables along with the flow of air and fire throughout the kiln result in many naturally occurring variations in the glazes colors. Second is to cone 7 through 8 in an electric kiln in an oxygen rich environment, giving its own varied touch to the glazed surface, with just as many of its own variables. Never is a kiln opened without curiosity, and suspense. I only hope others enjoy having and holding my work as much as I enjoy creating it.
Anthony S. Huonder