I grew up with an artistic family, so it was simply natural to be interested in creating. As a child I was always fiddling with some sort of material, clay in particular interested me. I have a distinct memory of creating a set of little ducks from clay which was dug from the earth at our home. In high school I took every art class they offered, but never had access to a pottery wheel. I decided to not pursue art in college, instead receiving a double-major in health promotion and anthropology.
A few years after college, I was drawn to be creative again. I was torn between the art-form of glassblowing or pottery. Since I love working directly with my hands on a material I went for pottery. My first classes were at a municipal pottery center in Fort Collins and I enjoyed the potter's wheel from the first moment! I am now continuing my work at the Northern Colorado Potters' Guild & Studio.
Although I enjoyed creating with stoneware, I felt something was missing. I still wanted the airy and ethereal feeling of blown glass. Once I learned that porcelain became translucent when thin, I knew that was it! I had to explore this material. It combines my favorite things about clay and glass.
Translucent porcelain feels like magic. I never tire of seeing light pass through the luminaries.
Porcelain is as challenging to work with as it is beautiful. Every step of the process takes a little extra care.
I throw each luminary on the wheel, so each one is unique. I use Laguna Frost cone 5/6 for all my luminaries and some of my other work. Once they are thrown, I wait for them to dry enough to trim. A great deal of time is spent trimming to ensure that the walls are evenly thin which makes much carving easier. After trimming is done, I carve each one by hand. I mainly use DiamondCore Tools for my carving. I don't normally have set pattern for carving, I just see where the piece takes me. Finally, before firing I sand them by hand. This cleans up any untidy carving spots and is the scariest part! Then they are bisque fired, glazed, and glaze fired.
Because the process is very organic and I respond to the clay, I am unable to fill custom orders or make sets. However, luminaries can be easily grouped together to create a cohesive look.
You can also see some of my process on my Instagram page.