February 22, 2012
Behind the Scenes : North Carolina Pottery
Posted by Blake Ramsey
One of the stories you'll find in the March issue of Living is about David Stuempfle, a North Carolina potter. You'll learn a bit of the history of Seagrove, the unique potters' community where David lives and works, and some fascinating details about his process, from digging the clay, to firing the 30-foot-long kiln (the burning alone lasts 5-6 days!)
photo by Landon Nordeman
Here's a peek behind the scenes of our photo shoot-
1 We documented one of David's large pots being built in his studio.
2 David builds the pot up using coils of clay, smoothing as he goes. In between layers, he speeds up the drying process with a torch.
3 Adding more coils.
4 Our photographer, Landon Nordeman gets on a ladder for the best angle.
5 Almost done! I love the natural floor of David's studio- North Carolina's famous red clay.
6 Dry pots waiting for the kiln.
8 Large pots adorn the lawn at David and Nancy's home.
9 This is the rear of the kiln, where most of the unloading takes place.
11 Several people put pots in the kiln, and take a turn working the firing.
15 Each surface is unique, depending on where the wood ash has fallen.
17 Most of these pots are not even glazed before firing- the wood ash alone is enough to coat the surface in a unique and beautiful way.
19 Pots are propped in the kiln with a clay mixture called "wadding". These prevent the pots from being fused to the kiln or other pots during firing. Sometimes shells are placed on the wadding, and leave marks as seen above.
20 Potters inspect their work.
21 I love the dappled surfaces that result from the wood ash.
23 A beautiful variety of pieces from different potters.
25 I love these giant pots.
26 A pot that did not survive a past firing makes a beautiful lawn ornament.
28 Landon documents as David unloads pots from inside the kiln.
29 The unloading is a family affair- everyone's excited to see the results!
33 Landon snaps some shots of the rural landscape as we head to the airport.
34 A short flight later, we're back in NYC!
Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.