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C. ClayWard is an award winning versatile artist who was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania Dutch country. A heritage of German and the Tulpehocken tribe of the Delaware Indian Nation combine to create an interest in anthropology, paleontology, history, animals, wildlife, and the environment. This translates into a love that can be seen in the artist’s work, with any of the materials or mediums used.
The Creative Process for producing a Cave Pot
By C. Clay-Ward, ClayWard Studio
" If a pot is going to have a lid, I choose a fossil that will enhance the pot’s shape, then throw a lid to fit the pot and the fossil. Most of the fossilized bone I use I’ve collected at Calvert Cliffs MD along the Chesapeake Bay. When the pot is hard, but not yet completely dry, I burnish it with a polished stone to seal the surface and give the pot its satin finish. After drying, it is bisque fired in an electric kiln.
The piece is fired a second time in a Raku kiln on a hot, still day. (Usually those code red or orange days where it is recommended you stay indoors.) Even the slightest breeze is detrimental. I fire one pot at a time in the Raku kiln until it glows with heat. The vessel is taken out of the kiln with specialized tongs and gloves similar to welder’s mitts and set it on a stand. I spray the hot pot with a metallic sienna colored mixture and carefully lay horsehair, collected from my horse, onto the piece. The horsehair burns and squiggles, leaving a carbon trail burned into the clay body. I drop dried grass clippings into the pot and put a brick over the opening to trap the smoke inside which darkens the interior.
When the piece is cool, I clean off the char from the burning horsehair, wax and buffed to protect it from handling plus to give it a gentle glow. The lidded pieces then have the fossilized bone glued. Since there isn’t any glaze on my “Cave Pots”, they are not waterproof. Each unique piece is photographed and assigned a number. "
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