Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pottery #14 - Oil-spot ceramics, Midori Burns


This is one of my favourite pots (why do I have a problem with a word, 'pot', I 
wonder - I guess I'd rather use a word 'vessel', but it doesn't necessarily mean 
clay, of course...). It's by an Australian based Japanese - well, potter? - Midori 
Burns. She doesn't have a website, and there're only a few images of her work 
on the net (see here for example), so I thought featuring her work in a single 
post would be good for spreading the word of this talented individual.

This is how she describes her work herself (courtesy of Planet Furniture):

I have been exploring the application of oil-spot glazes on functional and 
aesthetic vessels. My studies of a wide range of oil-spot pieces suggest that the 
technique may have its origins in the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1279AD). Pots from 
the area from which oil-spot pieces originated were referred to as "peasant pots". 
Although the finest pieces derived from the same kilns, the same clay, the same 
glaze mix and the same artisans that supplied the peasants were reserved for 
export and the very finest pieces were reserved for the Emperor. This might 
amount to only one pot in a million.

However, I have tried to reflect strong, contemporary influences and to give the 
pieces a refined spatial structure and a clear functional direction derived from 
modern aesthetic and design principles.

The intriguing prospect of working with such a variable and delicate glaze as oil-
spot and the exploration of the impact that differing, controlling temperatures 
might have upon the glaze were two of the more fascinating aspects of working 
in this ancient, yet surprisingly contemporary-looking medium.

David Hawkes, Untitled, 1997, Oil on board
Esa Jaske Collection

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