Introducing New Artist –
We are delighted to introduce Mary Christopher to the Art Harbor fleet. Mary is a potter/sculptor who has recently relocated to Murrels Inlet. She likes to experiment with various kinds of finishes such as glazes for her sculpture work in clay. This makes a piece of pottery its most durable, along with painting a kiln-fired piece with acrylic paint or encaustic, a wax/resin medium. However, primitive firing* is one of her favorite finishes.
*Primitive firing can be done in a pit or in an above-ground mound – sometimes in a metal sagar or drum. Mary follows a process she learned from Juan Quesada of Mata Ortiz and Maria Martinez of New Mexico. An earthenware piece is fired in a carefully stacked bonfire using cow manure as fuel. Starving the burning materials of oxygen causes carbon to permeate the clay body and turns it into a deep black finish. At times the piece may not turn completely black and the process has to be repeated. Often Mary likes the half-smoked appearance and will leave it that way.
Primitive Native American firing leaves the earthenware body looking soft and tactile. It helps to keep the clay looking like clay and also helps to release the soul of the sculpture.