Saturday, July 2, 2011

16 Pairs of Hands

In a world of mass-production and incredible seasonal turnover it's reassuring to work with such a long-life material (stoneware clay). This was more serindipitous than planned yet it continually gives me unexpected pleasures. One of these is the ability to personally meet many of the people who admire or purchase Bison. I owe them a debt of gratitude in that they both keep us afloat as well as supplying me with invaluable suggestions for the collection. This post is actually in response to a question posed to me some months ago by one such customer in my Canberra store. I was asked how many pairs of hands touched the average Bison piece? Apart from looking a bit sheepish I thought that this was a very valid query. The answer is ( insert sound of trumpets) 16! 

I estimated this figure from the processes of working with wet clay through to finishing and packing pieces in our stores. I'm often accused of being mad for having such a labour-intensive range but truthfully, when you see the results, I completely understand why we spend so much time on each vessel.  This photo shows one of these processes. The talented Helen is dipping an 'Atlantis Bowl' in liquid glaze after rolling the same glaze around the interior. The tiny droplets you see on the bottom are adhering to the wax we place on the base to stop the object sticking to a kiln shelf. While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder it takes the behind the scenes team considerable effort to produce such simple forms. 

Image: David Plummer

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