Friday, July 11, 2014

Guest artist: potter Bruce McCausland

This is my first time featuring a guest artist on this blog but I hope to do more of this in the future.
On June 28th, I went to the Earth Bowl III festival at Riverside-Salem environmental chapel in Grand Island. It was a fun way to relax. Earlier, I put loads of energy into a gardening job just down the street. It took nearly six hours to get the shrubbery pruned. With my work done, I could go and play.

At Riverside-Salem, I noticed that the potter's wheel had been placed outside and that there was a potter working at it. That's when I got the idea of the guest artist concept on this blog. I watched Bruce make pottery, and I photographed each step of the process. He is such a great potter that he makes the process seem effortless. If you want to know more about Bruce and his creative work with clay, take a look at this website.

Bruce begins to shape the clay into a ball so that he can place it on the potter's wheel. Getting all of the air out of the clay is essential to the process.

Bruce places the clay on the potter's wheel and moistens it with some water. He said that it is necessary to use some water but that it is easy to make the mistake of using too much water.

Shaping the clay, which is still somewhat formless.

Bruce concentrates on getting the clay ready to become something new.

Creating the pottery takes the right touch.

A lump of clay takes form... it is starting to be something different, something unique...

Bruce starts opening the pottery...

It is starting to have an inside and an outside...

Bruce uses a took to make sure that the top of the pottery is even.

The pottery grows and changes as the wheel spins...

The pot grows and takes on a life of its own.

At this point, it sort of looks like an upside down cake!

Once again, Bruce ensures that the pot has even edges.

Bruce works on the sides of the pot, which now appears to be a large bowl.

He continues to shape...

... and the bowl  continues to grow. It is now hard to believe that this bowl was once just a formless piece of clay.

Bruce uses a tool to etch a design in the bowl. The wheel is spinning as he uses this tool.

The design is complete.

Bruce removes the newly completed bowl from the potter's wheel.

The bowl needs to dry before being fired and glazed.
A variety of bowls at Earth Bowl III.

Each bowl is different...