Botanical Pressings

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” J. Muir

I’m excited to share some of my new work with you!

As a lifetime gardener and nature enthusiast, I’ve had the desire to incorporate plants into my pottery for quite some time.  I’ve tried many different processes over the past couple of years, from screen printing to Mishima, and none gave me quite what I was looking for. After much soul searching, and brainstorming with my fellow plant loving better half, I’ve finally settled on a simple way to incorporate the botanical world into  my work through a process I really enjoy! I’m simply pressing plant material that I’ve either harvested from the woods, or grown in the garden, into the clay when it’s still a bit soft. I did not invent this process, no doubt, but i believe I’ve put a little of myself into it, and that makes me happy. This gives my work a seasonal nature, since the plant material available will change with the seasons. After the pieces dry I fire them in a bisque kiln, and then apply an underglaze to the pressings to give them some contrast.  From there, they go for a ride down our long gravel road, and are loaded into a salt kiln, or wood kiln, depending on who I have the pleasure of firing with.

Bisque fired blueberry mug with applied underglaze

This load of work was fired in Kyle Carpenter’s salt kiln. Kyle has a been a full time studio potter in Asheville since 2002, and makes the most beautiful salt glazed pottery. I was lucky to meet him while I was at UNC Asheville during an anagama kiln firing, and he’s been a friend and mentor ever since. He got me excited about salt glazing, and I’m not sure I’ll ever go back! The way he fires his kiln creates a wonderful variation of warm colors throughout, and gives the natural feel that i love on my surfaces. If you haven’t already, check out Kyle’s work here.

The inside of Kyle’s kiln as we began to unload.

I’ll be posting more about the specifics of salt firing sometime soon.

Here are a couple of my Lavender pressed pots from this past firing. These are my absolute favorite to make because it smells SO lovely when i press the stems into the clay!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Spring!

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