It’s been over a decade since I’ve thrown clay on a wheel, but watching this video, by David Hobson, of Dorset-based potter Jonathan Garratt, makes me want to return to the art. Garratt is a true maker from beginning to end, including farming his own clay, mixing it in a blunger, drying it over a month, then processing it through a pug mill. He chops his own wood and claims to have nearly 100 tonnes of wood stacked in sheds and under tin tarps outside, which he rotates out on a two-year cycle!
The combination of using local clay and firing with wood gives his work a “flavor” and “character in the finished thing” that you can’t get from packets of clay powder and other firing techniques. Packing his kiln with about 1.5 tonnes of thrown pottery, he says it’s “a bit like a 3D jigsaw.” He fires the clay for 18 hours and 4 days later opens up the kiln to reveal locally sourced and made earthen masterworks. I am, to say the least, impressed!