Welcome to our B.O.C. blog. Learn about the world of handcrafted ceramic beads, buttons, pendants & components from our talented and knowledgeable Artisans.
June 2011 BOC Spotlight
Artist!
Pam Cresswell
of
Indian Creek Studios
Location
Kansas City 
 What do you call yourself?... artist, beadiest, ceramic artist, potter.???
Artist seems the simplest answer, I create in several mediums and make functional pieces and body adornments (as one of my old profs called art jewelry pieces) and anything else I get a notion to make. Potter works too.

How long have you been working in clay?
About 10 years now, though I first tried and failed at clay in college as part of my studio art requirements more than thirty years ago. I was very bad at throwing. Horrible. In hindsight I realize I never really learned to center. I have that down now!
I make pots for myself, but what I love to make the most are beads and charms.

What clays do you use?
Right now I use a cone 6 clay called Appaloosa from Coyote, because it is speckled. Love the specks.
How do you fire?
I fire cone 6 electric with a long fire down, a variation on what is recommended in the book Mastering Cone 6 Glazes by John Hesselberth and Ron Roy. The controlled cool down is important to my pieces, because it makes the glazes much more interesting.
Where is your working space/studio?
In my home, all over my home. I create and glaze at a table in the living room (it has great views outside), fire my kiln in the garage, the potter’s wheel is in the basement, and photography/shipping is in the guest bedroom. I think I need to steel more space for photography.

Do you work alone?
Oh no, I have cats and a big dog who never let me have alone time. Then there is Barney, the corn snake. He watches from his habitat that is next to my work table and flicks his purple tongue at me. Oh, I know you probably mean people, not furry or scaly folk. In that case, yes I do work alone. I am a self proclaimed hermit.
Name the steps you have to making a finished piece of your work.
I hand form each piece, usually by pinching out the form, then imprint a texture or press it into a mold, whatever is called for. Then I set it on a flat surface and dry to leather hard. Then I cut a stringing hole into it with a favorite little brass hole cutter. I let them dry to mostly dry, and then smooth any flaws and rough spots away with a green kitchen scrubby or a damp sponge. Some pieces get painted with underglaze at this point, like my owls and bees, where I want more control of the underglaze. If your underglaze is not bisque fired before you glaze, it blends and swirls with the glaze ands looses any sharp detail. That interaction is something I count on and use as well, but not for stripes on bees or owl eyes.
When I have enough greenware pieces ready I will bisque fire them. The bisque then gets more underglaze, and then glaze. Then I fire them again. I may fire them again with low fire glaze to get the look I want. I am a glaze nerd I admit (brag), and I want the finished charms to have complexity with the glaze through color and texture interaction. I add a final coat of clear crackle to just about everything. I live for the happy accidents and unexpected results that happen in a glaze firing.

Favorite glazes?
Hanson’s White
Licorice
Texture Autumn (commercial)
Old World Crackle (commercial)
Favorite themes, design inspirations?
I like anything timeless. I want my pieces to look like they could have been made last week or 2 thousand years ago. I also like hand formed, organic looks. I do not want my pieces to ever look mass produced or perfect. Sure I can make a bead that is perfectly round, but there a zillion perfect round beads in the world. It is far more interesting to take that round bead and roll it against a piece of walnut shell from my yard to get deep texture.

Ceramic artists you admire?

Where do you sell and show your work?
On Etsy mostly, sometimes at my local guild and by word of mouth

Advice to newbies?
Take good photos!

Favorite piece tool or piece of equipment?
My hands. Ok that sounds trite but I use my hands more than anything else. I do not use any fancy stuff.

Check out more of Pam's work here:


And learn more about her here!




5 comments:

  1. Wonderful interview!! Great to learn about your glazing techniques. You get fab results. I like your ancient look!! Thanks for sharing with us.

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  2. Nice to learn about your process, I'm a fan of the slow cool myself.

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  3. I tend to hermit a lot too, and you are right, there is never enough space to photograph! I enjoyed learning more about you and your art pieces. Thanks!

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  4. Great interview Pam - Really fun to learn more about you and your work ~ :)

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  5. You do get beautiful flowing glaze results!!! I clicked over to your blog and added it to my blog roll so I can keep up with you a bit more :) Great interview!

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