The Salvaged Collection
The new Salvaged Collection contains extremely special pieces that incorporate “waste” materials that were otherwise destined to be thrown away. (If you read the email, skip ahead to the "Wood Ash" section!)
Hardwood ash from the pizza ovens at Bar Romantica and disrupted clay from a construction site next to my old house/studio in Yarraville, (Boon Wurrung Country) are the local stars in this new range, acting as main ingredients in various traditional Japanese glaze recipes.
Processing these raw materials and testing the many combinations of slips and glazes is infinitely more work than simply buying a store-bought glaze or even mixing one up from only store-bought materials, but the labour of love has paid off tenfold.
From shimmering crackles to matte, straw coloured patches and glassy golden droplets, the interplay between these natural materials is magical- pure alchemy.
Working with these natural, unrefined materials while diverting them from waste has resulted in pots I’m very proud of, and I'm so excited to share them with you.
Read about the process below. Pieces from this collection will be available for purchase on the 2nd of May, and will continue to be restocked to the web store as I make more.
Bar Romantica on Lygon street have been kind enough to collect and donate hardwood ash from their pizza ovens for me to process and turn into glazes, using traditional Japanese glazes recipes.
This has been a real win-win, diverting the ash from waste and giving me large enough quantities to mix up sizeable batches of glaze.
These glazes in this collection consist of this salvaged wood ash, rice straw ash (or 'Synthetic' rice straw ash in my case- a blend of rocks and minerals that is compositionally identical to the real deal) and feldspar (a type of rock akin to granite.)
There has been so much work behind the scenes testing these new look pots, which are a layering of not only the ash glazes, but various slips and other traditional styles of Japanese glazes (Shino-style glazes)
It has taken months to test these glaze/slip combinations during my days at SoCA and in my own studio- well over 60 combinations were tested to find the best surfaces.
Using the new wood ash in place of the more reliable synthetic version that I had previously tested with introduced yet another variable which needed even more testing.
The large tub of semi-burnt hardwood needed weeks of processing before it could be mixed into a usable glaze- hours of sieving, washing multiple times and leaving it to dry for several days. Nobody mentioned the horrendous smell that the ash, a very alkaline material emits as it dries! Hardly glamorous!
The bucket I received after being divided into unburnt material, charcoal and ash.
The clay that also features as an ingredient in the salvaged collection was foraged with permission from traditional owners from a construction site next to my old house/studio on Boon Wurrung land in Yarraville.
If you're a Yarraville resident, late last year some day at the crack of dawn, you may well have walked past the vacant lot and spotted someone crouched amongst the littered iced coffee bottles and ciggie butts, shovelling chunks of disrupted clay into buckets. That would have been me!
The first test with the clay cracked something terrible, so while I set about learning how to work with it's properties to build pots (a story for another day) I wanted to incorporate it into a glaze.
Drying chunks out completely took several weeks, at which point they were mixed with water to create a sludge. This was sieved through a window screen and dried back out to a powder.
Mixed with only one other ground rock, this gorgeous, rich red clay creates a beautiful gently crackled Shino-style glaze (a recipe for which I have again gratefully drawn from the rich history of Japanese traditions for reference.)
The raw clay after being collected.
Caring for pieces from the Salvaged Collection
The glazes on these new pieces are often crackle glazes- if you look closely, you can see a networked web of crackles across the surface.
With use over time, the vessels will adopt the colour of food and drink used in them- for instance, a coffee mug from this collection will develop a beautiful patina with age, the cracks browning and revealing themselves further with each moment spent enjoying it.
Provided you are properly washing your items after use with detergent and hot water (as we should all be doing!), this is completely hygienic and will not harbour bacteria any more than a regular piece.
Crackle glazes are extremely beautiful, and increase the fragility of the item somewhat. Please take extra care with items from the Salvaged Collection- perhaps avoid the dishwasher and microwave for these very special items.
These styles of glazes have been used for centuries, and I am deeply grateful to be able to learn from the Japanese culture in my creations, adding a touch of my history and home (on both Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri land) to them.