Welcome to my studio, a refurbished four stall barn in the backyard of my home. Every piece I make here reflects a successful combination of artistry, clay, chemistry, and heat. I love what I do, and because of that, each creation is a unique work of art which came to be from a ball of clay, crafted with my hands and heart, and backed with over twenty-five years of study and experience.
I most often work with a buff white stoneware clay but some pieces are made with a gray speckled stoneware clay, depending on the glazing effects I want to achieve. I also like to play with raku firing primarily for small sculptures and decorative items. Raku and garden pieces are made with a white earthenware clay. For larger sculptures, I use paper clay which also fires at the lower earthenware clay temperature. Unless it is a raku or other low fired (1900 degrees) decorative piece, I fire my glazed stoneware work to 2250 degrees in its final/glaze firing. It will be food safe and with care it will also be dishwasher and microwave safe for everyday use.
You’ve heard the claim that ‘form follows function’, well, when it comes to pottery, ‘clay follows use’. In general, the higher the temperature which the clay can be fired, the less porous the finished piece will be. Simply put, pottery items that need to hold water and/or be food safe are best fired to higher temperatures which makes a stoneware clay the choice. For items that do not need to hold water, earthenware or paper clay are suitable. There’s your very brief and generalized clay lesson for today.
While I would love to be able to say that I draw inspiration from some poetic locale, the truth is simply that I am blessed with an overactive imagination, a playful inner child, and a desire to make everyone smile when they see my work.
Whatever I make, it is my intention for each piece to be unique, so while you may see some similarities, all are different. I like to think that every pot is an individual that belongs to a large family. This uniqueness, I hope, reminds the user that it is handmade and not part of our mass produced world.
There is creativity and whimsy in everything I make. I strive for it. You will see bright colors and deep textures drawn out over the clay, either in the way I shape soft slabs or newly thrown clay, or when I apply brush strokes of ceramic colorants to the surface of my bisqued clay ‘canvases’.
‘Whimsy’ is defined as “noun: a playful or amusing quality: a sense of humor or playfulness: not serious” in Webster’s. Well, I take my whimsy seriously. I pay equal attention to form, surface, and detail. Balance and function are emphasized with ergonomic handles on my mugs and platters as are the spouts on pitchers and teapots to make sure they all are comfortable to handle and pour well.
I hope that my pots bring joy to everyone that uses them.
Denise Kupiszewski, The Mud Peddler