Photo by Eva Kosmas Flores- Pitcher by Hanselmann Pottery, Plate by Earthfired Pottery/ CM.
During the springtime, I was contacted by a few ladies about making a 12 piece dinnerware set for a workshop to be held in Taos, N.M. They are a talented, creative group of foodies and photographers who organize workshops all over the world specializing in preparing local cuisine, travel and teaching photography. They wanted to professionally capture the local flavor and style of the Southwest.
As a wood fire potter and college professor, I knew I would have to get busy in developing a dinnerware set which could be fired in an electric kiln to get the job done in time. I had already began testing clay bodies and glazes, as I wanted to have a stable, second body of work (non-wood fired) to balance out my time, energy and losses in the wood kiln.
I wanted the pottery set to feel rustic, elegant and contemporary. But also have the weathered, romantic, western feel of this area. It had to be neutral colored to show off the food.
Photo by Eva Kosmas Flores.- Cups by Hanselmann Pottery, Plates by Earthfired Pottery/ CM.
I found inspiration for the style from the silver Concho on my saddle. New Mexico is known for the handcrafted and stamped metal design in their jewelry and belt buckles. Also, this naturally translated into my throwing process and type of pottery that I make. So, I got to work with some red clay, slip and glaze. Everything came together over the next couple of months. Mugs, bowls, serving platters, dessert and dinner plates. The ladies also wanted to borrow wood fired accent pieces.
Perfect! I was even more excited about having some really great photos of some of my wood fired pottery in use.
Photo by Carey Nershi- Bowls by Earthfired Pottery/ CM.
When the group arrived at my studio, they were and friendly, excited and really, really, nice. I was happy to finally meet them in person and welcomed them with a warm pot of tea. We got right down to business and they began picking lots of wood fired pottery to bring to the workshop in Taos. I could see them thinking creatively about the workshop photos they wanted to take, what foods they would be cooking and pottery that workshop attendees might want to take home. I really wanted to pick their brains about ceramics within the food culture, but time was short. Plus, I was busy wrapping and packing boxes of work.
Photo by Maggie Pate- Plate, jar and pinch pot by Earthfired Pottery/ CM.
I found that the photographs were very textural with added, found items and that this seemed to make the pottery pictures more visually interesting. Of course composition, color and 100 other things come into play as well.
It has been so interesting to cross the clay media over with food and photography. Especially, in a Southwestern setting which compliments my work. Naturally and historically, pottery was created for using with food and beverages, so this is something I always think about while making. But, the experience taught me to look differently at handmade ceramics that really present food well.
Photo by Trisha Hughes- Wood Fired Serving Bowl by Earthfired Pottery/ CM.
I was amazed at the way they used the pottery, what was in it and how powerful the camara is as a tool with a professional handler behind it. The handcrafted, wood fired pot can be earthy, subtle and even more beautiful when it's presentation is considered. The participants must have appreciated the pottery as well, since they took home a bunch of it. :)
I am honored to have been a part of this special event and present through my craft. I make and create functional ceramics with the intent of adding humanness and comfort to the world. Life is just so much more lovely when we can slow down and appreciate quality moments and handmade goods.
Photo by Megan Dunn- Wood Fired Vase by Earthfired Pottery/CM
More recently, I am hard at work in my new studio making pottery like crazy. The dinnerware set is being perfected and I am adding lots of pieces to it. Also, I will be wood firing my kiln later this summer and have made many new forms of small to large dishes inspired by some of the photos taken during this event.
For more pictures from the Taos workshop event go to Instagram. #fweevents
Thank you to all,