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Bridget Johnson

My vessels are formed using a traditional West African coiling technique, a building method which for me has an almost addictive and Zen-like quality, where I feel completely at one with the clay. This is followed by hours, sometimes days, of burnishing using a polished stone, which produces a tactile sheen, making each piece feel warm and alive. The pieces are bisque fired, and then smoke fired with a carefully selected collection of organic materials to produce their colours and markings. The intensity and precision involved in making and burnishing each form is then contrasted by the excitement and drama of smoke firing, where the vessels are sacrificed to the smoke and flames, and alchemy takes over… The result is that each piece is unique, feels alive, and has its own attitude and identity.

I have always been interested in the tension and contrast between what is natural and what is man-made and seek to create organic forms that seem to have sprung up naturally and yet are made with great attention to detail. This tension is expressed in the smoke firing process. For someone who enjoys the precision of coil building, and finishing each detail of their pieces so carefully, it is incredibly exciting to then hand my vessels over to the natural elements of the smoke and fire to form their patterns and colours. This finish makes each piece unpredictable and creates a sense of life and drama on the vessels’ surface.

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