Carole Sue Ross
My vessels are hand built with a combination of coiling, pinching, and scraping. The process takes place outdoors in the sunlight, dying the clay as it is formed. After the walls are manipulated to their thinnest possible state, I burnish the vessel to a grog-free finish and at the same time, compressing the clay so that it is strong enough to withstand the firing process. Next I apply numerous layers of Terra Sigillata, a mineral stain which is a liquid mixture where clay particles are separated - the heaviest falling to the bottom, the finest being suspended. This suspended clay mixture is siphoned off and is then brushed onto the surface of the vessel. Between layers the pot is burnished again until it has a satin smoothness similar to tortoiseshell or polished wood. Sometimes the vessel's exterior is carved and scraped, giving it an even more organic quality.
At this point, the vessel is bisqued for additional hardness. Next each piece is individually fired in a pit filled with different combustible materials. Sometimes a piece goes through three or four firing until I achieve the desired color and design. The resulting smoked area and patterns are sometimes spontaneous, sometimes manipulated. Finally the piece is polished and sealed with a wax polish.
All in all, the process takes about four days to complete.
$100 Per Vessel