Sam Wild, Wild Pottery - Handmade, one-of-a-kind pottery. Wilmot, New Hampshire

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About the Work
The Creative Process | Glazing the WorkAbout The Glaze

THE CREATIVE PROCESS

I work in porcelain with ball clay added, which is easier to use than straight porcelain.  All of my pots are thrown on the potter's wheel and decorated with impressed and applied texture and motifs while the pots are still on the wheel.  Because most stamps and molds can't be applied to a freshly thrown pot because they would stick, I dry the pots somewhat with a torch as soon as they are thrown, prior to beginning to decorate them.

The frog, beetle, and gecko designs are made from molds (that I've made) by placing the mold on the pot and pressing extra clay into the underside or inside of the pot, pressing the surface of the pot into the mold.  

Decorating the handmade pottery with stampsDecorating the unique one-of-a-kind potteryDecorating the pottery, gecko design

After I remove the mold, I roll tiny balls of clay to be the eyes, adding them to the motifs and pushing a pencil point into the balls to create a "pupil", and then scratching the claws into the surface of the pot.  

Decorating the hand-made potteryDecorating the unique, handmade pottery from Sam WildSam Wild, Wild Pottery, unique hand-made pottery

After the animals are in place, I make additional texture with rubber stamps, tools, and found objects.  

Wild Pottery, Wilmot, New HampshirePottery from Sam Wild, Wilmot, New HampshireGecko design from Wild Pottery, Sam Wild, Potter

I also make some tools out of clay to make marks on the pots.  I try to decorate each pot all the way around, not just on the "front" and each pot is one-of-a-kind.  Although I use the same mold over and over, the number and placement of the motifs varies; also the additional impressions vary from pot to pot.

Sam Wild decorates pottery thrown on a wheelUnique usable art from Wild Pottery

After the pot has dried and stiffened sufficiently, the interior and underside must be scraped and then rubbed smooth with my finger.  The pots are then bisqued.

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GLAZING THE WORK

The process of glazing the work involves a number of steps.  First, with a small brush, I apply 2 or 3 coats of dark green glaze to the parts of the decoration that I wish to emphasize.  I then apply water-soluble wax by brush to those same areas to resist further absorption of glaze.  Next, I apply the same water-soluble wax to the bottom of each pot to keep glaze from adhering to the bottoms.

It is necessary to allow the pots to sit for a day or two, depending on the humidity, so the wax is completely dry.  Each pot is then dipped into a large vat of glaze which I mix up myself from my own formula.  After each piece is glazed, I carefully wipe with a damp sponge any beads of glaze on the waxed areas.  The pot can then be loaded into the kiln.  

All of this takes a considerable amount of time, more than most production potters spend decorating their ware.  There are potters who can complete 100 mugs in a day.  With some of my more elaborate pieces, I'm lucky to throw and decorate 10 mugs, and still have to apply handles and trim bottoms.  My prices reflect the amount of work in each pot. There are many subtleties that can only be learned by doing this work for a long time.  

This is simply a general description of how I work and not a primer.

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ABOUT THE GLAZE

I actually use two glazes.  One is a highlight glaze that is a deeper green which I apply to the motifs I wish to highlight.  My principal glaze is a pale celadon green, varying in color depending on how thickly it is applied.  Where it is thinly applied, it appears as a pale celadon tone.  When thickly applied, it becomes a pale, opalescent blue.  

Most glazes do not have this range.  Typically, they deepen in hue when they are thicker, but do not develop the opalescence of my glaze.  The variety of color and opalescence that I have achieved with this glaze makes it quite unusual.  

I try to take advantage of this effect as the glaze pools in the depressions created by the textural treatment of the clay surface and produces the blue highlights.  I also apply extra glaze in the bottom of bowls and brush it on the feet of bowls for the same reason.

The glaze is extremely sensitive to how thickly it is applied, so I don't have complete control of the exact shade of green on the finished pot, but I find all of the variations beautiful.  The color of the glaze comes from copper in the formula.  I fire in an electric kiln so potters would describe my glaze as an oxidation glaze.

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8 Watershed Lane, Wilmot, New Hampshire  03287
Phone:  603-526-2322


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