Bearing the scars of its birth, 'Awakening' emerged from the fiery crucible of a 'saggar' - an almost fully enclosed container made of large pre-fired clay rings placed on top of one another. The sculpture was placed inside the saggar and surrounded with salt-soaked sawdust, pine cones, copper wire, copper carbonate, various glaze frits, banana skins and raw salt.
A lid was placed on top, leaving just enough of an opening so the contents of the saggar could 'breathe'. This creates a micro-climate within the saggar that is different to the firing atmosphere in the rest of the kiln.
The subtle colour of this piece is caused by the slowly combusting materials and gases contacting the raw clay surface in the intense 1300°C heat.
What inspired this piece? Who knows. As one of my web design mentors, Jeffrey Zeldman remarked, "A higher power solves most design problems; I'm just a channel. I think that's true for most creative people. We're lucky little vessels."
CLAY - GLAZE - KILN - FIRING:
Unglazed iron-rich Kopuku stoneware clay, fired in the confines of a "saggar" with assorted materials, metal oxides, salt, sawdust etc. Reduction fired to 1300°C in a top-hat ceramic fibre LPG gas kiln. Pale green celadon glaze was applied to the white-clay face.
When it works, saggar firing can result in spectacular fire-flashing with a wide range of earth tones and lava-like bubbling and cratering of the clay surface.