Joe Collings-Hall (Joseph Silver Ceramics)

Red Orb, 2023

16 cm
I am a potter at the beginning of my career with an interest in alternative firing practices, specifically, Naked Raku and Saggar firing. There is something about the absence of control that comes with Naked Raku and Saggar firing that makes the process very seductive. As it stands, I’m making a living as a production potter and when time allows, producing my alternatively fired works. There Is something about the movement the natural combustibles imbue these works with that draws the eye. Whether it be a smoke stain from a gum-leaf or a twisting frizzle of Alpaca wool, the movement and energy that the process captures makes it extremely rewarding. Combined with the traditional forms of the vessels, the beauty of the uncontrolled nature of the surface treatment can be brought to the fore. The uncontrolled nature of this method also means that each piece is unique, a welcome change from producing functional ware, such as bowls and mugs. While I have some understanding of what a given mix of colourants and combustibles will do, it is largely unknown. And it is that ignorance that makes the process so exciting.

My interest in ceramics was initially sparked during high school, but limited to dabbling in hand-building until 2021. After taking up far too much space in various share-houses around Melbourne, my practice has evolved into the pottery studio I have in Tasmania today.

I was lucky enough to be mentored by Ian Clare, a Master Potter from the Huon Valley, whose influence has informed my own practice immensely.

I’m attracted to the level of unknowns associated with ceramics. There are so many variables that it’s like modern-day alchemy, in essence we’re turning glorified mud into something beautiful, like lead into gold.

And while our work can last thousands of years, it’s not plastic, not synthetic. It is organic, rooted in the environment. There’s something nice about the fact that pottery is made of the earth and will one day return to it.

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