Irina Okula

IPSWICH, MA

Using white earthenware clay, each saggar bowl or vessel is made on a potter’s wheel. After drying, it is sanded, and hand burnished to a shiny surface with a smooth stone. Several layers of a fine clay slip, terra-sigillata, are applied and polished again with a soft cloth. The piece is then bisque fired to 1830°F. After cooling, shard pots are broken into several pieces. Each piece is decorated with stamps, copper wire, tape or string, and packed into an individual saggar, a covered clay container. It is packed with combustible materials, such as sawdust, salt marsh hay, or seaweed, which has been soaked in solutions of salt, iron, cobalt, or copper oxides. These saggars are stacked and fired in a gas kiln. The fire, salt and combustibles all dance on the surface of the pieces, leaving distinctive marks. After cooling, the shard pot pieces are assembled and epoxied together. The saggar process yields a beautiful melding of patterns, designs, textures, and colors.
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