“During my earlier career in the fashion industry as a designer and pattern cutter, I began to explore clay as an alternative medium to fabric. In fashion, the layering of textiles and the power of the cut merge to find new balances and forms, the biomorphic and geometric held in tension. My work in clay continues to explore this. I’m fascinated by the geometry in nature, especially as growth and random chaotic forces skew and distort the initial perfect symmetry, leading to biomorphic and irregular forms.
I work with a grogged porcelain, using Nerikomi techniques. This involves adding oxides or stains to the clay to colour it and then joining, slicing and rejoining layers of colours to build up patterns through the clay. I then slab-build the pieces. After sanding and biscuit firing to 1046 degrees, the pieces are re-sanded and then further decorated, using various resists. They are then smoke-fired and polished.
My smoke-fired work is purely decorative. As it is low-fired, it is not impermeable, so is not waterproof.”
DEMO: Barbara Gittings makes a Nerikomi bottle