I have made things from clay since I was a young child and love the tactile squidginess of the material. I was fortunate to attend a school where art-making was central to our education.
My sculptures depict creatures, humans, and natural forms in a stylised way, and I fire them to stoneware or using the raku technique. I usually coil the basic form and then add and take away clay to arrive at the finished sculpture.
Raku firing has to be done outside as it involves removing the pieces from the kiln when they are red hot - 1000° - and placing them in a bin with combustible material - I use sawdust. This causes the glaze to craze, and the burning in the sawdust blackens the crazed and unglazed areas. This results in a stone-like, pitted and crazed surface which I feel compliments my work.
For my stoneware pieces I use layers of slip to produce crazing, together with oxides which give an ancient looking surface.
For me there is some control in the making, and surrender to chance in the firing processes. This keeps my interest alive and challenges me to learn from failure and to rejoice in success.