At the beginning of my journey into clay a potter I met quoted .... “Once into clay, it sticks”...... over 40 years later I am still firmly adhered
Parian porcelain has been the clay of my choice for the past three years. I have worked with a variety of clay bodies and techniques over my forty years as a potter but it is parian that has truly captivated my imagination. It presents a variety of challenges, especially on the scale I undertake.
Parian was developed around 1845 by the Staffordshire pottery manufacturer Mintons and was essentially designed to imitate carved marble, with the great advantage that it could be prepared in a liquid form and cast in a mould enabling mass production.
It is one of the most difficult clay bodies I have worked with notably because of its tendency to crack whilst drying, also cracking and distorting during firing which has resulted in my developing a different approach to my forming techniques, kiln packing and also considerably extending my firing schedules.
Working with a limited palette of black and white with minimal glaze application and highlights of Mother of Pearl and Platinum lustre allows the subtle translucency and softness of the parian to dominate.
I am intrigued by the soft translucency of parian especially when lit from behind or placed in direct sunlight. To this end I am currently designing light installations.
Parian may be a very challenging clay but well worth the frustrations of multiple failures in the face of its beauty.