This week on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with studio potter and educator Janet DeBoos. Renown for her finely thrown porcelain, Janet is featured in numerous international museums and publications. She says of her forming methods, "I work at the limits of thrown porcelain, finishing all work whilst the ware is still wet on the pottery wheel, and throwing as thinly as it is possible to do without complete collapse. I do not turn or trim the porcelain... but try to always 'go with' the clay and retain the freshness of the act of making. It becomes almost a game that I play with myself-pitting technique against material." The resulting pots have a freshly touched feeling like a spatula sliding through whipped cream.
In the interview we discuss her experience designing for a Chinese ceramic factory. Her desire to use the hand made aesthetic in the factory setting is an idea I wish would grow in China. Many industrially made forms are stiff and lifeless lacking any remnant of human interaction in the making process. Evidence of the designer's hand might revitalize and personalize forms that are otherwise lost in a sea of mass production. Click here for a Craft Unbound article on Janets work in China.
Her most recent body of work integrates surface design from Chinese, British and Australia decorative motifs. She builds up layers of pattern with terra sigillata, sgraffito, glaze, and decaled images. I appreciate the density and contrast of the decorations she layers on her pots. The interaction of the motifs reminds me of contemporary quilt design. For more information on Janet please visit the ANU website. Her recent work is available on line at the Sabbia Gallery.