Born in Germany in 1959 I moved to New Zealand in the early 80's. I rediscovered pottery when my youngest child started school, joining the Auckland Studio Potters where I have recently completed a Diploma of Ceramic Art run by the Otago Polytechnic.
Lately my focus has been on making shino glazed bowls and cups.
To me a bowl is the ultimate domestic item, representing nourishment and sustenance. I aim for my bowls to be strong yet subtle with a timeless quality, as if they had been on the kitchen table feeding the family for a long time. Living on a farm north of Auckland gives me the opportunity to use clay from my own land. Faceting the exterior of the pot opens up the clay with all its impurities and creates an interesting surface for the shino glaze to interact with. The iron oxide decoration provides an extra focal point.
Shino is a glaze made from a local feldspar first used by the Mino potters in Japan in the 16th century. It became very popular with the Zen masters for their tea ceremonial wares. The crazing, the pin holing and crawling, and the way this glaze shows every mark and dribble, are all factors normally considered glaze defects. But they fitted perfectly into the Zen philosophy of wabi sabi. Shino’s white and brown surface has been compared to the last traces of winter snow, with the promise of spring in the air. But it is the interaction between the clay, the glaze and the fire that makes this glaze such a challenge. The Zen masters valued the fact that this glaze showed every impurity in the clay and every mark that the potter left.
I first became drawn to shino when I was searchng for a glaze to suit a particular pot. Once I started experimenting with this glaze I became fascinated with its compelling nature. Shino is an extremely sensitve glaze. Using the same clay and glaze in the same firing can produce completely different results. I never know what I will find when I open the kiln!