After the fire
gestural vase, celadon glaze

gestural vase, celadon glaze

These are some pots shown on previous posts prior to being fired.

No longer blank canvases, they are finished, changed, enhanced by the firing.  In this one to the left, the translucent celadon glaze pools a little in the gestural grooves, and darkens, accentuating the   groove lines.

In the red vase the glaze also thins at ridge lines and deepens in grooves, but the red commands considerable attention on its own.



The bird vases are colored by the flashing of the wood flame, leading to the varied pink color.  Subtle, a counterpoint to the blue slip.

All the pots have ash residue on their surface, creating depth and variation.

My studio will be open this weekend, as part of the Vermont Crafts Council Open Studio Weekend. You can check out lots of pots like these, see the kiln, and my studio space.  Other Brattleboro-West-Artists on the tour include Malcolm Wright, Josh and Marta Bernbaum, Matthew Tell, and David and Michelle Holzapfel.


This is for the birds
Porcelain bird vases with a few practice sheets

Porcelain bird vases with a few practice sheets

Doing some decorating

One of the benefits of firing with wood is that the flame, through ash deposits and “flashing”, itself can do a great job of decorating the pot.  On many of my pots I apply no glaze or decoration on the outside, most of the others have a single glaze.  The fire takes it from there, paints its own picture,  jazzes things up, and creates a rich and wonderful surface.

But why not decorate a pot and then submit it to the flame?

I figured I’d give it a try.  I am drawn to natural imagery, birds, trees, fish.  Especially birds.  A local Chinese calligraphy teacher suggested I copy forms over  and over from an awesome book she had.  A potter acquaintance advised practice, practice, practice.  I got the ink stick, the tapered brush, set aside some time.  I went through a lot of paper. Gradually the copied forms became my own.  I enjoy exaggerating a particular aspect of the bird; big beak, long legs.  Give it some attitude.

Painting on the clay surface is quite a bit different than painting on paper.  There’s a learning curve.      There’s no eraser.

My initial tests last year did well in the kiln, and have all been sold or have otherwise found good homes.  I threw and decorated a couple of dozen vases for this next go round.  They will be fired this Sunday.

Walter Slowinski

Orchard Street Pottery


Close up of Mr Bird


A small family gathering

Some pots in process
April 3, 2013, 9:56 am
Filed under: Process | Tags:

Pots in motion

 swirl vases

swirl vases

The wheel turns.  That’s how a pot gets thrown.  The motion of the wheel enables the potter to make a symetrical round vessel.  Often the traces of the process are erased, throw lines smoothed out.

I’ve been interested in amplifying those process marks, exagerating them.  Leaving a permanent record of the fluidity of the clay, the movement involved in making.  For me, it can make the vessel dynamic, alive, exciting.

Each of these pots is an experiment.  Itself the record of a moment never to be repeated.

Walter Slowinski