Ian F. Thomas: Di-analytic Variables, detail, Slab-built earthenware, electric fired cone 02, gold leaf

Ian F. Thomas: Di-analytic Variables, detail, Slab-built earthenware, electric fired cone 02, gold leaf

Ian F. Thomas: The Eagle and the Arrow, Wheel-thrown porcelain, slip, gas fired cone 6, graphite, image transfer, arrows, elementary school chair, gilded brick kiln stilt, paint / 40x16x16 inches, 45 lbs

Ian F. Thomas: The Eagle and the Arrow, Wheel-thrown porcelain, slip, gas fired cone 6, graphite, image transfer, arrows, elementary school chair, gilded brick kiln stilt, paint / 40x16x16 inches, 45 lbs

Ian F. Thomas: Turbulent Continuity, Digital Projection of a slip-cast Chinese vase (American made mold), 18 out-of-date educational books, slab-built earthenware, string, paint

Ian F. Thomas: Turbulent Continuity, Digital Projection of a slip-cast Chinese vase (American made mold), 18 out-of-date educational books, slab-built earthenware, string, paint

Interview with Claire Muckian - Artist of the month, September 2011

Interview with ceramic artist Claire Muckian - Artist of the month, September 2011

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Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are a very young and talented ceramic artist. Can you tell us what was your first experience with ceramics?

Claire Muckian: Thank you, but I’m not that young actually. I studied art in school, liked it very much but never considered it as a possible career. After many years training and working in various environmental management roles, I began to realise how much I missed making art. So, I returned to the University of Ulster in Belfast to do the BA Fine and Applied Arts with a view to specialising in drawing. There, I had a brief introduction to clay, which I had never used before and had an instant connection with it as a material. I loved how malleable it was and how you could so easily transfer a quality of touch during making. I viewed it as an extension of my drawing practice. So, I made an impulsive decision to specialise in ceramics for my Degree after that.

Claire Muckian Contemporary Ceramics Magazine - Artist of the month

Turbine, porcelain - View her works

Constructing using hand-building techniques give your works a sense of delicacy and lightness. How do you make your works? Tell us more about the process.

As I mentioned before, I enjoy making where I can transfer a sensitivity of touch to the material. It is important for me that the sculptures maintain a certain immediacy, vibrancy, and vulnerability that can be achieved easily with drawing, but that tends to be lost when making 3-dimensional work.  I think this is the case with ceramics in particular, where so much time and processes are involved. I predominantly choose hand-building techniques such as pinching and coiling so you can build quickly and loosely. I’m not so interested in the perfect surface and I like to achieve an appearance of the handmade. I like the texture of hammered metal and to leave holes and marks like fingerprints. This gives the work an unfinished aesthetic that adds energy and immediacy to what are seemingly primitive works but that still feel fresh and relevant.

I wish to heighten the viewer’s awareness of space, air and silence.  I am interested in the viewer’s experience and response to objects, particularly the handmade object. I believe that the viewer finishes these forms off in their mind and participates in their making to a certain degree.

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Interview with Shamai Gibsh - Ceramic Technique, September 2011

Interview with Israeli ceramic artist Shamai Gibsh - Ceramic Technique, September 2011

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→ The interview with Shamai Gibsh is featured in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue One, Winter 2011-2012.

Ceramics Now Magazine
: What was the starting point in your investigation with Saggar firing and Terra Sigillata painting?

Shamai Gibsh: Terra sigillata painting intrigued my imagination when I was a teenager.  At first, I saw Venetian vases decorated with black and white figures and later with color painting, as part of the history and heritage of the eastern Mediterranean board. Years later, when I was already a ceramic artists, I researched terra sigillata and the rediscovery of it in the 20th century, and started to apply it to my work. I tend not to use glazes in my work, except for exterior mural work. Thus, the use of terra sigillata over the last 15 years enabled me to reach a non shiny and a very appealing color palate, and when fired within saggar vessels in the presence of organic materials or smoked firing, appears to have exiting results. I fire within a saggar, which is an enclosed clay vessel that holds the specific organic material, to get the desired results. Over the years I have used many forms of organic materials like saw dust, salt Marché, pine needles, various seeds and fruits. These days, I mainly use pine needles collected from two forests; one in the Carmel mountains and the other one close to my studio.

Installation “Stelae 2011”, 235x213x55 cm. Stoneware, Terra sigillata, Saggar firing.


Tell us more about the process of constructing your works. Does it take much time, do you have to make many preparations?

The manual part of my work: wheel throwing, hand building murals and sculpting occupy a large part of my time. However, these come after an idea has been formed following considerable thoughts, planning and designing. Naturally, I am influenced by my roots, the immediate cultural and social environment and by the exposure to anything that touches us as human beings. Therefore, yes, it is a lengthy process.

My preference of the use of sagaar firing also contributes to the prolonged preparatory phase in my work. Bone-dried vessels, made out of white stoneware clay, are covered with three layers of terra sigillata, occasionally decorated with copper cuttings and bisque fired to cone 06. Metal soluble are also used for decoration, and the objects are inserted into clay vessels (saggars) which are just a bit larger than the fired object, and filled up with organic materials, mostly pine needles, pretreated with different oxides. I fire in reduction to around 1000C.

Preparation of murals varies. At times terra sigilata is applied in different layers on a plaster board in a reverse pattern, followed by a thin layer of liquid clay. When in a leather-hard state, the board is lifted and cut into tiles, bisque fired and only than saggar fired. In other instances, tiles are painted with terra sigiillata, applied with layers of various copper cutting and even painted with oxides and metal solubles, bisque fired and saggar fired.

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Mark Goudy: Three Vessels - clockwise from left: (m103) 8”w x 4”h; (m105) 10”w x 4.5”h; (m102) 7.5”w x 3.5”h

Mark Goudy: Three Vessels - clockwise from left: (m103) 8”w x 4”h; (m105) 10”w x 4.5”h; (m102) 7.5”w x 3.5”h

Are you ready for the first printed issue of Ceramics Now Magazine, what are your expectations?

Pre-orders will be available later this day on our website. The first issue will be published in November 2011, and will be delivered to your home at the end of November or beginning of December. It will also be available at selected stores in USA and UK.

The magazine will be a trimestrial publication (four times a year - Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn), and will cost 15$ USD plus shipping costs.

Confirmed artists so far: Carole Epp, Carol Gouthro, Roxanne Jackson, Claire Muckian, Arthur Gonzalez, Cynthia Lahti, Shane Porter, Liza Riddle, Antonella Cimatti, Blaine Avery, John Shirley, Margrieta Jeltema, Connie Norman, Jim Kraft, Shamai Gibsh, Mark Goudy, Ian Shelly, Ian F. Thomas, Patrick Colhoun, Wim Borst, Chang Hyun Bang.

Interviews with the exhibiting artists at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition: Gwen F. Chanzit, Katie Caron and Martha Russo, John Roloff, Clare Twomey, Paul Sacaridiz, Linda Sormin, Del Harrow, Benjamin DeMott, Mia Mulvey.

+ Our September newsletter will be sent tomorrow to our subscribers. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Mark Goudy: Vessel (m57) - 12.5”w x 4.5”h; handbuilt burnished earthenware, soluble metal salts, fired to cone 04

Mark Goudy: Vessel (m57) - 12.5”w x 4.5”h; handbuilt burnished earthenware, soluble metal salts, fired to cone 04