Posted 5th March 2018
Getting started is always tricky. I drop the kids at school, walk the dog, maybe have a cup of tea.... Once started it's the opposite. It's hard to stop and a rush to clean off clay by the end of the school day at 3.30. I make a few horses in a day and imagine them in group. They are first made flat and filled with newspaper to support them and then after an hour or so I hang them in slings with some added clay props to keep them in place until they dry. I prefer the modelling part to decorating; decorating generally involves a few coloured slips for the earthenware horses and often only a dip in glaze for most of the stoneware horses.
I imagined that by now I would have settled into one type of clay or firing schedule but I am always keen to mix a new glaze or try a new clay body (Not always successfully, I can't seem to apply my very precise scientific brain to pottery, I forget which horses were made in which clay over time and move on to something new) At the moment I fire my stoneware horses in a reduced atmosphere gas kiln and my earthenware ones in an electric. I have gone from aspiring to a wood kiln, to more recently thinking an efficient electric kiln with maybe a complementary wind turbine would be ideal. For now I'll carry on with the facilities I have available, a little borrowed electric kiln in my shed and taking some of my work up to fire in my Dad's kilns.
See Helena Bowen's work in Horses in Art Reimagined at Watts Contemporary Gallery until 15 April.