New Ceramics from the Varina Woodkiln

These pots were fired in a 2 chamber woodkiln by Tree Hill Pottery. They fire with revitalized wood scraps and logs found in the Richmond, VA area. The kiln fires from cone 6 to cone 11 in oxidation and reduction depending on the area of the kiln. The following work represents my glaze tests in different locations of the wood/salt chamber of the kiln.

Magnesia glaze on the inside with 3% iron as a colorant. This cup was once fired in a wood/salt atmosphere to cone 10. Cup was hand built over a wood hump mold with texture added to the outside by pressing and paddling with hand made and found wooden sticks.

Bourbon, Sake, Tea Cup 4″ x3″x 4″ $45.00
Email hardwickhandmade@gmail.com for orders

Wood/Salt fired cup with woodash celadon glaze in the Chinese Longuan celadon tradition.

Bourbon, Sake, Tea Cup 4″ x3″x 4″ $45.00
Email hardwickhandmade@gmail.com for orders

Trans Clear Pumice Glaze that can be found on Glazy.org This glaze is high in Calcium Carbonate and goes clear green where thick in reduction atmospheres over 1260 degrees cooled quickly. In an oxidized atmosphere this glaze goes clear/yellow. This cup is clear/yellow on the inside and clear/green on the outside indicating 2 different atmospheres at different times in teh firing.

Bourbon, Sake, Tea Cup 4″ x3″x 4″ $45.00
Email hardwickhandmade@gmail.com for orders

VC Matte base. This cup has crystals from dark brown to green. The clay body looks reduced, but the interior of the cup looks oxidized and is a buttery yellow. My guess is the outside is showing carbon trapping from early in the firing producing the dark brown color. The green color may be coming from the salt in the kiln, but more tests are necessary.

Bourbon, Sake, Tea Cup 4″ x3″x 4″ $45.00
Email hardwickhandmade@gmail.com for orders

Fake Ash glaze is darker and more brown on the exterior. Interior is showing more rivulets with more yellow coloration. Glaze has over 40% calcium carbonate, but has not run much. So, very possible the temp was not at cone 10. Surface is dry, but mature.

Bourbon, Sake, Tea Cup 4″ x3″x 4″ $45.00
Email hardwickhandmade@gmail.com for orders

This is one of many tests for a blue celadon. It is showing a blue/green cast, but glaze needs to be much thicker. Glaze analysis was pulled from Nigel Wood’s book Chinese Glazes. Next firing will be same unaltered glaze with thicker application. Slight crystallization is evident.

Bourbon, Sake, Tea Cup 4″ x3″x 4″ $45.00
Email hardwickhandmade@gmail.com for orders

Ceramic Vessels by Matthew Hardwick

Current sculptural vessels by Matthew Hardwick are on display now at Black Iris Gallery- 321 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220. Opening Reception is March 6th from 5:30pm -10pm with accompaning ambient guitar by Hunter Duke.

This work explores time signatures left by textural paddles and sticks that are thrust and beaten into the clay over wooden and bisque molds that are carved with chainsaws, grinders, chisels and knives. The texture left by these tools is a physical manifestation of time; an interpretation of Matthew’s mortality.

The clay bodies are new and were formulated to show off flashing from the atmospheric kilns used to obtain them. The glazes create surfaces that contrast and highlight the surface texture.

The show is open through the month of March with a reception tomorrow, Friday March 6th and a closing reception on March 27th, 8-11pm to correspond with NCECA. This is a venue originated event in conjunction with NCECA and is on the bus tour during the last week of March.

The show was a success and thanks for all the support from those that attended the March 6th reception. The 2nd reception and NCECA was canceled, unfortunately, but it was a great experience to have my work up for a month and have locals get a chance to see more of my work.

Matthew Hardwick

Oahu Vacation

Sunset in Waiamae
The sun burst through the clouds
I love the sun spots left on the water

Yes, I made it back to paradise.

Oahu, North Shore

I didn’t know if it would ever happen. I’ve not been in Hawaii for 8 or 9 years.

Sunset, Waiamae

It was uncanny how the sun smiled upon us for 2 weeks. Only 2 days of rain,

Just north of Makaha Beach on the west side of Oahu

You can see the surfers and homeless in tents on the beach in the background. A dream come true…

USS Arizona
USS Arizona at Pearl harbor

No, it isn’t all fun and games in Hawaii. There are some serious aspects that need addressing. Pearl Harbor is a good reality check.

But there is always the sun. The sun keeps smiling in Hawaii.

Look at the sun as it pierces this wave

The sun is not alone out there, but it is dramatic. The water is just as beautiful.

But it is always back to the sun…

Flashing Clay Bodies

I am currently searching for a deep red/orange clay body that flashes this color in atmospheric firings to Cone 8 and above. I have mixed roughly 20 tests and made cups out of them and fired them in Soda and Wood/Salt kilns to Cone 8 and Cone 10 respectively. Here are my findings.

It seems that red/orange flashing is promoted by small amounts of iron chemically incorporated in high temperature clay and dry material ingredients introduced in the clay body.

What Parmelee suggests in his book Ceramic Glazes that clay bodies higher in silica will need higher percentages of iron compared to clay bodies higher in alumina, stays true. Though, iron percentages stay below 3% on a whole.

Also, it seems that the silica/alumina ratio should stay below 4. The current wood kiln has tests that are below 2 (showing a high alumina content)

My tests have 2 different realms. One direction is a grolleg/PV body and the other is a Neph Sy/silica body. Both directions are currently using high alumina materials.

These are the tests in a cone 8/9 Soda Firing
4
clay body test #4
5
Clay body test #5
6
Clay body test #6

These 3 tests were fired in a first firing on a clay slab to ensure they would not melt down with higher than normal percentages of flux I was a little worried. I believe the firing had too much reduction to promote the flashing and too much soda to allow flashing in some areas. Cup number 6 has engulfed in soda, so no visible flashing is seen except on the foot of the cup.

My belief is that too thick a layer of flux (could be wood ash, soda in this case or salt) will stop the development or cover teh development of flashing. Also, I think that an oxidation atmosphere during 700 degree to 900 degree Celcius is neccesary for red/orange flashing, though I’m unsure if this needs to happen in firing or cooling or both.

This cup is blah blah blay

These 2 tests have 35% Mica with different types of silica mesh in them. Notice the excess iron in the mica has colored them brown as if they were made from EPK or were a dark stoneware, even though they are mainly grolleg kaolin. The silica mesh made no difference in the color. They were fired in different parts of the kiln.

These two tests have lower flux, but more silica and less mica and the color is very light almost a pastel pink. I believe the iron should have been increased to counter the added silica. It seems that 4-5% iron material needs to be added to get a deeper color.

Soda firing

A friend let me use his soda kiln to fire my work last weekend. Here is the open kiln as I saw it a couple days after the firing. The firing was a little cold, but I learned alot from it and hope to use many of the pieces in my shows this coming spring.

Hottest part of the kiln. Bottom shelf – front about cone 9 down with heavy reduction

What I learned the most was how my glazes work in soda. Some did not turn out how I wanted them to, but some came out great. My core 3 glazes looked great and I can’t wait to use them again. there were maybe three other test glazes that I will mix up again. Also, there were several glazes that did not work and I hope to sieve them to get the materials to mix better in the firing and perhaps work next time.

Middle shelf front- About cone 8 down with medium reduction, but some carbon trapping.

I’m looking forward to firing soda again, though I dont’ know when that will be, but I hope to do some tests again soon to see if sieving a glaze will improve how it looks.

Me before I unloaded the kiln

Freer/Renwick Gallery permanent collections

The images are from the Freer/Renwick Galleries on 2 separate occasions in September 2019. I have seen the pieces in the Freer a million times as it is my favorite museum, but this is only the second time I’ve been to the Renwick. Both have amazing pieces that I have not photographed or seen deep in their archives. I wish they would rotate their collections more often.

Michael Sherrill Retrospective at the Renwick Gallery

Chance led me to the Renwick Gallery in Washington DC this week where I went through the exhibit of Michael Sherrill’s work. It was amazing. He has moved his focus from utilitarian work thrown on a wheel to ceramic, metal, glass sculptural pieces. All were done with explicit detail and professional appearance. In speaking with him he was modest, contemplative and completely involved in his creative ideas.

Here are some images:

National Gallery of Art

Pic in front of the 3 dimensional painting by Jean Dubuffet
This is not only one of my favorite images, but an inspiration to most of my artwork
Jean Dubuffet, Combat Beard

I visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC this weekend and had a great time looking at the artwork. I only spent an hour there and another one in the Hirshhorn and though, I enjoyed every minute of it, it wasn’t enough time to see and admire all the art work I wanted to check out.

At the National Gallery= East End
Olidon Redon- I don’t remember the title, but a great work

Recently, I have been interested and researching Dadaism and Surrealism and found great works of art representing both of these artistic periods. I pictured a few of them in this article, but there were 2 Max Ernst works that I am very interested in. they are in fact, stuck in my head right now. His work is distubing, but amazing at the same time.

The texture and natural feel to his paintings are impressive
Jean Dubuffet

What type of artwork is inspiring you nowadays?

Matt

Hardwick Handmade studio tour

I am part of the RVA Clay Studio Tour this year. They have been doing it for 4 years now, but his is my first time participating. All my work is going to be out and available for purchase. Both my electric low fire earthenware dinnerware and my wood/salt fired porcelaneous stoneware will be for sale.

I will have snacks and drinks for your pleasure along with the pottery and ceramic vessels available for purchase.

TJ Edwards will be joining me for the sale and he will have pottery and sculpture that he makes down Route 5 in New Charles. His work is beautiful and also available for purchase.

I hope to see you there!

Matt

New Garden is Planted

I bought a straw bale and dug out the middle of it with a chainsaw. Then I planted several tomatoes and a couple peppers and filled it in with soil and compost. I finished by covering the dirt and plants with some of the loose straw for mulch. So far my plants love it and are growing like weeds. No weeds have grown yet, which is better than my normal ceramics planters.

Straw bale carved out with an electric chainsaw.