Art Speaks: Using Mud

Using mud to create vessels is one of the oldest forms of art making. In the beginning, the items were strictly utilitarian. Through experimenting with fire, man learned to harden his created forms, and later glazes beautified the vessels. 

Decorating the earthenware defined separate cultures. It gave each maker an avenue for cultural expression and creativity. What began as a necessity lead to a distinctive art-making category. 

Kaolin is the term used to describe potter’s clay. The clay pieces are hand built or thrown on a potter’s wheel. The potter holds the ball of clay firmly and guides it while the wheel and clay turn. It takes a great deal of skill to become an expert at wheel throwing. Once the artist is satisfied with their design, the piece is fired and glazed and placed in a kiln, with temperatures up to 2,264° Fahrenheit. 

Wildart’s potter, Stephen Johnson, excels in this medium. He uses clay that is dug and processed in Lizella, GA, from a family of six generations of potters. Stephen’s work includes bowls, mugs, lamps, and telephone amplifiers.

by Margaret Warfield – Artist

1105 Washington St.
Covington, GA 30014

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