Marion Kennedy - Plumtree Ceramics
- Alternative firing
I am based near Edinburgh, Scotland. I studied MA (Hons) Fine Art at Edinburgh University. Integral to the course was practical studio work at Edinburgh College of Art where I studied drawing, painting, print-making and sculpture.
I make hand thrown stoneware pots, bowls and vases. Most greenware pieces are hand burnished before biscuit firing in an electric kiln. Biscuit ware pieces are then fired again in a sawdust kiln to give the finished effect. I sometimes use slip as a resist for the sawdust firing to give the surface a pattern which is a little more defined.
The overall effect I'm trying to create is natural and simple. I like to create shapes and surfaces which can be smooth like pebbles you find on a beach or can be rough and irregular like artefacts uncovered at an archaeological dig. With the latter I'm aiming to make something less uniform and more primitive.
I prefer not to use glazes which hide the clay. I like to keep the natural clay surface so the pots are warmer to the touch. I normally burnish them to give a slight shine rather than encase the pots in a hard, glassy, glazed shell. The final sawdust firing gives the surface a finish which I have little control over and is left to the fire and smoke to create.
I love the feel of clay, how plastic it is and that before it is fired it can all be re-used. The way we talk about pots with words like body, neck, shoulder and foot makes them very human. Forming pots on the wheel - opening out the clay and closing it in again - is like a mouth forming sounds.
My dad taught me how to throw pots when I was a teenager and I have picked up tips from working with other potters on holiday and in workshops.