The foundation of my work is the clay.  

 

I enjoy intimacy with my materials. I’ve always mixed my clay from raw ingredients rather than rely on commercially blended clay bodies. Each clay has a personality – bright or somber, critical or forgiving, rugged or refined. Choices made at this stage are crucial; they resonate through forming, drying, decorating and firing.  

 

I favor clays that fire to warm earth tones and bear marks of their interaction with fire. In the right kind of kiln, flame etches a piece’s skin. Good clay bodies record elemental stories.

I rarely mix a clay body the exact same way twice.

Curiosity and play drive a conversation with materials, and this conversation has led me to some conclusions. High alumina and low flint can create a warm, touchable skin. Silica sand creates lovely, tiny dimples. Illites are wild and mysterious, fun and troublesome.

Applied Slip

                Prefire                            Postfire

Slip and glaze

“To be known as a good cook, start with the freshest ingredients and do very little to them.” I’ve heard this quote attributed to Julia Child, and it’s the heart of my approach to covering clay with slip and glaze. Sparse decoration with slip allows me to break up the flame-etched surface with pattern and contrast. Locally prospected materials play a large role in the glazes I currently use. This gesture directly connects my work to a geographical place and gets my hands into every part of the process.

Daniel Gardner Ceramics

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