He who works with his hands is a laborer,
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman,
He who works with his hands, his head, and his heart is an artist.
St. Francis of Assisi
Often times, I fall in love with an artist’s design when I am reminded of a special memory. Other times it is from the feeling the specific art piece can illicit, especially when that emotion is linked to something I hold most dear. When I saw the beauty and elegance of the pottery creations by Inner Light Pottery, I was immediately struck by the exemplary level of artistry and design. The designs are unique and are truly one of kind.
To create these beautiful pieces of luminary pottery, the natural boundaries of clay are pushed in order to achieve unique shapes and create intricate cutouts. When illuminated, the results provide a visual display that can resemble images you may find and appreciate in a structured design or in nature itself.
If you are an Outlander fan, this form of visual illumination may remind you of a set design by production designer, Jon Gary Steele. The creation of King Louis XV’s Star Chamber is one set that immediately comes to mind. He described it as a set that dramatically incorporated the unique usage of light to “appear as if it opened up to the sky to make the starlight shine through.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to bring that form of luminary art home for you to enjoy? You can do that with the creations by Inner Light Pottery.
I wanted to learn more about the process of developing and completing her designs. I spoke to the artist of Inner Light Pottery. This is what she shared with us:
1. How long have you been making pottery? About 25 years. My mom signed me up for a teen class at Rhode Island School of Design when I was 12.
2. Is there anything that inspires you, as you develop a specific design? I am always seeing patterns in my daily life and in nature, which I catalogue in my brain for later. Lately I have been carving mandalas so they appear on the ceiling when you light up the luminary. I don’t plan anything out, but I start with a loose idea about the shape of the cutouts and the pattern they will make. Mostly I let my heart guide the cutting, meaning whatever shape feels right.
3. What are some of your favorite pieces that you have created?
My favorites change constantly as my work evolves. My favorite shape to create on the wheel is a vase with a super fat belly and a tiny foot and neck. I love pots whose shape defies gravity or those that have good contrast, whether it is in a matte glaze juxtaposed next to a shiny glaze or in a vase shaped with a fat belly and tiny neck/foot.
4. Can you describe the process and length of time it takes to create individual pieces?
I start with a lump of clay. Then I “throw” it onto the center of the potter’s wheel and slowly shape it using my hands, water, and a few basic tools. When I am happy with the shape, I cut the wet vessel off the wheel with a wire and dry it until it is ready to trim (leather hard stage).
When it is dry enough (but not too dry!) I re-center and trim the pot with a carving tool. Then, if I plan to carve, I wrap the pot for 24 hours or so to cure it.
When it is ready, I use a sharp blade to cut shapes and patterns out of the vessel’s walls. After the design is complete, I smooth the cut edges and burnish the surface.
At this stage the pot is re-wrapped to dry slowly to prevent cracking. When it has completely dried (bone dry stage), it is bisque fired. If there is any moisture in the pot at all, it will explode in the kiln and destroy other pots so this is essential.
Once the pot is bisque fired it is ready to be glazed. I then dip it in glaze and re-fire it in a glaze kiln. Next, I pray to the kiln gods for beautiful results! The whole process start to finish for a luminary is at least two weeks, and the time spent actively working on an individual luminary ranges from 2-3 hours.
The results are simply amazing! Please check out her website at Inner Light Pottery to purchase your own, one of a kind, luminary pottery. She also has additional pottery pieces available, including mugs and serving platters. We are thankful for the ability to share her inspiring designs. We also hope that you may be able to bring home your own Star Chamber to enjoy. ♥
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