Joe Winter

About the Artist

It is important as an artist to allow for a constant evolution of ideas, and avoid getting stuck in safe repetition of previous successes. I am now using four different firing techniques for my work; Raku, gas fired stoneware, wood fired stoneware and wood fired salt glazed stoneware. Each of these firing techniques involves fire directly interacting with the clay and glaze. Fire of course can be incredibly destructive, but I am most interested in fire as a beautiful tool for creating pots with beauty, depth, and unique character. It is virtually impossible to make the same piece twice because of all of the variables involved. Each piece is a permanent record of the whole process. The makeup of the clay, the throwing, the thickness of the glaze, position in the kiln and temperature are just a few of the variables that are recorded in each finished piece. Raku is a low temperature firing about 1900 F., and the other three stoneware firings are high temperature up to 2450 F.

With four different firing techniques it would be pretty hard to get in a rut. It is also a challenge to keep straight all the different techniques that apply to each style of firing. Some of the glazes are used in all three stoneware techniques and yield a very different result in each. There is a constant process of attempting to take mental notes on what happened and an attempt to figure out why in each firing. Sometimes I am just getting warmed up and excited about one firing technique, but I have to switch gears and get ready for a different firing. Often I am preparing for several firings at the same time. There are often ideas I have for one technique which crossover to another. This is an endless process of discovery that keeps me intensely interested in developing new work.

 

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