Go! / by Sam Johnson

The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity in the studio -  new work, updating and expanding social media, photographing with Nick Campbell from Steve Diamond Elements, and beginning my first term as a Board of Director for Artaxis.org.  

Here's some of what's been happening.

Nick Campbell of Steven Diamond Elements has been a good friend and supporter of my work.  Here is the setup Nick has used to photograph my work.   Nick's subjects often include action sports.  You can follow him on Facebook here.

I have started making coil jars for my next wood firing. You're right.  This one is upside down.  My approach to building large jars is somewhat unconventional, but works well for me.  

I first learned of the coil and paddle approach during my apprenticeship with Richard Bresnahan.  Richard studied under Takashi Nakazato who, intern, worked within the Karatsu-style way of making pottery.  The coiling and paddling technique that I use is directly related to this tradition.  

This is what it looks like when I begin.   I start by making the bottom half of the jar first, beginning in the middle of the form.  I first build a large cone shaped form with coils.  Then the profile is shaped and struck with a textured paddle to further refine the profile and make the walls thinner and more dense.  

I make the bottoms by building a thick disk of clay which is paddled into the correct diameter.  The disk drys and is later added to the bottom section of the jar. 

The foot is attached and leveled.

After drying, the form is flipped and coils are added.

The upper half of the form is refined and beaten with a paddle.