"After a few years making pottery I really wanted to learn to formulate my own glazes. I was living in the Bay Area and went to several colleges to try to take glaze chemistry. All of them said I had to enroll in a Master's program, and because I had two young boys and obligations as a faculty wife I knew I would not have the time for a full degree program - all I really wanted was to make my own glazes. At Mills, Antonio Prieto told me about Reese Bullen at Humboldt State and strongly recommended that I take his summer school program. That summer I got a brief introduction to the immense world of glaze chemistry. Then in 1966, I was free to move to Arcata and began studying in more depth. I worked on glaze chemistry sporadically for three years, ending up with a Master's degree. I've had a love/hate relation with glaze chemistry ever since - the math is always difficult for me and the need to keep detailed records of testing results (required by Prof. Bullen) is tedious, but I still get intrigued by color possibilities from time to time.
"I enjoy creating things people use and live with in their daily lives. It's good for the spirit to have beautiful, interesting and even funny things around. I think people are hungry for things someone cared about making."
Recently I've gotten interested in the effect glazes have on each other: the color and texture can change dramatically, depending on the layering sequence. In yearly trips to New York museums and galleries I've been inspired by the paintings of Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis, with their thin veils of overlapping colors, and the visual effect that creates. In firing, the atmosphere and temperature in the kiln impact color development, even the path of the flame can have an effect. Sometimes you can see the results of the bubbling, boiling of the glaze during firing, sometimes thin halos of color form along the edges of a layer. Some results are thrilling and some disastrous, but it's always fascinating. Plates are an ideal form to use in playing out these ideas. I've also press parts of plants into the soft clay to form an image and emphasizing that with glazing.My methods are sometimes haphazard, so reproducing an effect can be illusive...(I sometimes hear the voice of Prof. Bullen in my ear..."record, record, record!")... but clay and glazes always lead me on.
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