I have been committed to clay ever since first touching it in a high school Art class over 35 years ago. While I have learned many things from many different people over the years, I am primarily self-taught. I have been a studio potter producing functional Terra Cotta in northern Orange County since 1982 and began working from my home/studio in the woods near Caldwell NC in 1988.
All of my pots are made from red clay on a potter’s wheel. Some are “coil and throw”, a technique where a coil of clay is joined to the lip of a form on the wheel and thrown to an additional height. Very large pieces can be constructed by using several coils in this manner. When the clay has become “leather-hard”, or stiffened up enough to handle, the decorative glaze work is accomplished by spraying one or more glazes onto the pots . I sometimes add additional colors by brushing or spraying pigments over the glaze. I then carve through the glaze into the still damp clay to achieve the various patterns you see on my pots. When the pots are completely dry they go into the kiln and are fired to 2125 degrees fahrenheit.
The Potter’s Wheel seems to me very much like a musical instrument in that practice and daily use is necessary to become truly proficient. My Pots are the songs that result. Shape is the melody, pattern the lyric. Their rhythm comes from the continuous flow of work. Some are songs I have played for many years that people still love and want, and so I continue to make them, with great joy in the variations. Variations that ultimately lead to new patterns which dictate changes in the shapes, bringing it back once again to the clay spinning on the wheel and a new cycle beginning.
CLICK arrow to hear GARRY CHILDS talk about his process.