Working Magic With Black Clay

I enjoy working with clay bodies other than white (see my post The Color of Clay). In my work, mostly sculptural, glaze functions as an embellishment rather than the main attraction.  This comes from my aesthetic and my dislike of the glazing process!  I find the contrast between the glazed and the unglazed piece quite interesting, especially with a toasty or reddish clay.  Two years ago I started working with this black (actually a deep chocolate brown toned) clay body.

Clay gets its color from certain minerals and pigments.  Iron oxide is what makes terra cotta clay red.  In the case of black clay, the color is from burnt umber.  It is a pigment in short supply these days so a bag of clay will cost you a few dollars more.  Any highly-pigmented clay is messy to work with and this is like working with black mud. Wearing a good apron is key.  Regardless, the end result of this clay is worth it.

My work is primitive. The pots are formed from strips I have coiled up.  The little goddess figures are pinched forms, the larger from small slabs.  I have fun dressing them up with wire, beads, and feathers after they are fired.  The arms on the larger figures are from juniper wood I gathered in New Mexico.

Waiting to be dressed up

Here are a few pieces I created this fall for gifts, for a gallery I am in, and for myself.

I have some of the small and large goddess figures left. If you are interested in purchasing one please email me at wildnotions96@gmail.com.

See my blog on sustainabile living at onesweetearth.blog

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