Frances Palmer Pottery

The summer was full and productive.  In June and July, I focused primarily on making porcelain for the Covet exhibition at the Ferrin Gallery (ferringallery.com) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and for my solo show at the North Haven Gallery on North Haven, Maine.

For the Covet exhibition, I had visited the Hancock Shaker Village in April and used Shaker design as my point of reference and inspiration.  I was taken through the museum by Lesley Herzberg, Hancock's knowledgeable Collections Curator.  Although the Shakers did not make ceramics, I designed a group of pots that I felt matched their aesthetic.  I used white porcelain bisque and brown stoneware bisque, without glazes.  I also brought to the Ferrin Gallery a new group of work that alluded to my studies at the Metropolitan Museum's American Decorative Arts Collection.  Here I was wonderfully helped by Adrienne Spinozzi, Research Associate and Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Curator of American Decorative Arts.  I was thinking about George Ohr and his brilliant throwing abilities.

For glazed porcelain pots, I wanted to work with celadon and sang de boeuf (oxblood) glazes, the latter being a fugitive and challenging color to achieve.  That, however, is what makes it intriguing to do.  Amy Merrick came for a visit in late August and made this beautiful flower design in one of the oxblood vases.

In terms of the celadon, I searched for a translucent, pale blue color and found a recipe that I hope achieves this.  The color also relies on the thickness of the glaze on the pot and experimentations continue.  I had some fun painting oxide stripes on raw pots.  I enjoyed making these very much and more are on the way.

In June, there was a talk at the Japan Society given by five Japanese women potters who had moved to France to pursue their art.  Although these women had learned to make ceramics in Japan, the culture there was open only to male potters.  Consequently, the five women independently decided to move to the more receptive French work environment.  It was a fascinating discussion and one of the artists, Nagasawa Setsuko, kindly shared her recipes for a cobalt and matte white glaze.  Our results were quite different, as she fires her work in an electric kiln and I fire in a gas kiln.

Finally, I also began exploring American Shino glaze recipes.  In order to achieve a good shino result, known as carbon trap, a particular carbon atmosphere in the kiln is required.  Thus, I will need to dedicate a firing specifically for this glaze.  I hope to be able to do this in the fall and will keep you posted.

Written by Frances Palmer — September 06, 2012

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