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Chris Campbell

What kind of potter are you? Mud or Fire? | Jan. 2, 2012

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Happy New Year to you all!!!!

 

This question comes from the replies in last weeks question regarding when you can call yourself a potter.

Marcia Selsor wrote that Cardew said there are Mud Potters and Fire Potters

Which kind are you? ... and is this premise true? ... are there many more categories?

 

What kind of potter are you? MUD or FIRE?

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I enjoy both parts of the process. Now that I am confined to an electric kiln I find myself spending more time on the clay because I feel the kiln is not providing anything in the way of decoration as all the wood and salt I did in college. Back then I made fairly simple pots and relied upon the work in the kiln to make my pots interesting.

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I was a fire potter most of my career in potting and enjoyed designing kilns. I have built burners for both oil and propane. I designed a wood fired raku kiln that was incredibly efficient and could fire (after hours of batches) in 3 minutes by the end of the day. We clocked it! I have built many gas and diesel kilns and fired them in my lifetime.

 

But now I use mostly electric at home except for raku and saggar firings. The gas kiln at school is a huge one and I hope to fire it several more times this semester. It took a long time to fill it. I loaded it for a week prodding students to get glazing!

 

Marcia

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I am definitely a mud potter, I consider firing a necessary evil. My favorite stage and look of clay is the leather hard stage and I am very fond of burnishing. Glazes can make or break a piece so I spend a lot of time testing so I can fire successfully. Perhaps I got burnt out in college I was in a raku glaze testing group and we tested everyday. Denice

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I am definitely a mud potter, I consider firing a necessary evil. My favorite stage and look of clay is the leather hard stage and I am very fond of burnishing. Glazes can make or break a piece so I spend a lot of time testing so I can fire successfully. Perhaps I got burnt out in college I was in a raku glaze testing group and we tested everyday. Denice

 

 

I can relate to your comments Denice. I also am a mud potter. I say this easily, because I love to get immersed in the clay, elbow deep, wedging, throwing, just as dirty as can be-you know where I would be if I were a pig! I fire electric, un set, so I am in quite a bit of control, like firing, love seeing the end result, but its necessary for the type of ware I do. I would love to find a way to have clay that keeps the leather hard persona and is as permanent as my stoneware. However, even when I have seen other potters try to mimic it, it does not come off well. At the same time I don't think the general public relates to it as well as we do. Yes I am definitely a mud potter tied into the making, not the firing.

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I love both - I recently saw someone comment that they try to stay clean when they throw. WHAT???? No way, getting muddy is the best part. Well, except for the fire. I find myself taking video of the flames licking up between the pots, and the soot hanging on the bottom of the kiln. An occupation where you can play in the mud AND play with fire. What's not to love?

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I am deffinently a Mud potter but theres nothing like seeing all your hard work in the piece when you open the kiln and see it glazed and finished for the first time.

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Definitely a mudder. My hands are so happy playing in the mud that sometimes I don't care if there's anything to fire. Clay is so, so, malleable. It squishes, stretches, slumps, and/or sizzles as it runs through my fingers. It is just great fun!

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