In 1986 I established Fox Mountain Pottery and have been earning my livelihood with wood fired pottery ever since. When in the studio and working my primary concern and focus is BEAUTY. I don’t believe there is any one set formula for beauty, but for me being a potter, it seems to require a natural setting, a spiritual practice, a sincerity and yearning, a working with spontaneity and a kiln fueled with wood. Presently I use two wood kilns for expression to bring my efforts to fruition. In 2005 with the assistance of Canadian potter Lee Clark I built a new kiln (see kiln) in order to deliver my vision. This kiln is called an Anagama, which translates to cave or hole kiln, it is half buried underground and measures 40 feet long. It requires ten days of constant attending and ten cords of split pine to achieve the results I seek and to complete one firing. The works from this kiln have a natural glaze, I do not apply glaze to the pots. The color and texture is caused by the climate, age and type of wood being used, atmospheric conditions inside the kiln caused by my intuition and experience in firing the kiln, placement of the works, wood ash from the burning fuel melting into the clay, fire flashing the work and coals being maintained on the pots themselves. The blending of these variables results in endless variety of effects. There can be great risks in wood firing; many elements are at play for success, but the rewards can be deeply satisfying as well. It is challenging and demanding emotionally and physically to control this process. What I find most difficult is to maintain 100% concentration 100% for a ten day firing. By being in harmony with the elements and forces of nature the work becomes a sacrificial offering surrendered to the flames and reborn, it aspires towards the ideal of timeless beauty. In the final analysis, as they say “everything that you are is embodied in the result”, the essence of the person emerges in the effort. For me firing a wood kiln is a meditation, I must focus, concentrate and listen deeply, then I can be in tune. . . the kiln will tell you everything that is needed for success. My goal and ideal is to make objects of beauty that have a transcending quality which can possibly inspire another human being, bring a little joy or add a positive presence to one’s living environment. For me, working with clay and being a fire artist is a vehicle for spiritual growth. One can say that my pots are offerings or prayers and my kiln the temple to manifest them. My work has been recognized through awards, museum exhibitions, collections, publications and film. Spring of 2007 I was honored to have my first one person exhibition at the museum level at the Arkansas Art Center. I’m grateful for the ever-growing recognition I receive, but what is most gratifying is when my efforts to manifest beauty touches the heart of another human being.
Ruth Meyers wrote:Okay, Judith, I've waited enough time to allow someone else to take you up on this terrific opportunity. Mark that vessel mine, please.
PS: I see the other pottery offer thread has been locked down, so I will express my joy here about the bowls Judith sent me. Wow! They are even more beautiful and impressive in person. I can't wait to present them to daughter. Yay!