The Artist’s Process

raku pottery artist
Natalie in her studio creating a clay vessel.

Natalie’s clay vessels are formed by her hands, beginning with a sphere of clay which typically weighs 5 to 10 pounds, depending on how large she wants to make the vessel. She pinches an opening with her thumb and fingers, elongates the form by using her arm, then places it in a sling or “nest” which is an old bed sheet tied tightly over a large garbage can. As it rests there she continues pinching it into a large circular form. She makes the walls as thin as possible, sometimes holes form which she patches as she goes. The opening, or negative space of the vessel as well as it’s total shape are often asymmetrical and an important aspect of their beauty. Natalie finishes her vessels by burnishing them, bisque firing, and finally Raku or pit firing.