John Baymore at River Bend Pottery

River Bend Pottery   © 1995 - 2011 All Rights reserved

 

 

ON HANDCRAFTING

Michael does not wedge John's clay, form, alter, or assemble John's pieces, nor wax, glaze, or decorate any of John's forms in any way.   When you purchase one of John's pieces, you can be assured that John actually did, with his own two hands, make the piece you have in your home.

 

General Studio Procedures

 

John uses a number of clay bodies in his work, each selected for its particular properties for the pieces being created. A couple of these are commercially formulated bodies blended by a potter's supply house, usually altered by John to add character, and also a couple of these are custom formula blends created by John and mixed at the studio.  In his search in his clays for what the Japanese often call "tsuchi aji" (literal "clay taste"), some of these clay bodies contain some local materials from the surrounding communities as well as sand from the banks of the Souhegan River located right behind the studio.

 

John uses numerous forming techniques to produce the various items that he makes. The most prevalent technique in his production is throwing on the potter's wheel. Many of these inherently round thrown forms are then altered to change the shape by stretching, paddling, fluting, and faceting. He also uses handbuilding techniques that incorporate slab building, press molding and assembly, hump and slump molding and assembly, and extrusion and assembly.

 

The wet clay surface is often enhanced by the addition of colored clay slips. Sometimes these slips are actually inlaid into the wet clay surface by filling in carvings or stamped impressions and then shaving the slipped surface back flush with the background clay, a technique called "mishima". Occasionally, dry clays and powdered rocks are pressed into the wet surfaces to give "dry riverbed" effects.

 

John's current glaze palate has been developed over about 32 years of extensive technical study, and many of the glazes he is now using have been in production for about 25 years. A few of his glazes contain local materials like local clay, granite dust, powdered river sand, and wood ashes. All glazes are mixed by hand, by weighing out the proper proportion of ingredients and suspending them in water through thorough mixing and sieving. The glazes are applied mainly by dipping, pouring, and brushing. The low temperature overglaze enamels which are occasionally used as accents are purchased pre-made from a commercial supplier.

 

All of John’s stoneware glazes, are lead and cadmium free. John also does not use barium compounds, another metal oxide which, while not currently regulated by the U.S. government, is suspect by some industrial health specialists as to its possible negative health effects. The predominant colorant John uses is iron oxide. Some glazes, slips, and on-glaze decoration contain low percentages of copper and cobalt oxides.

 

The Apprentice’s Role

 

For many years John has had a part-time apprentice, Michael Fong, also from Wilton, NH, studying with him. As part of his ceramics education Michael often helps him with general studio tasks, studio repairs, firewood preparation, and also frequently assists with stacking, firing, and unloading the large wood kiln. Michael is now a BFA ceramics degree candidate at the New Hampshire Institute of Art where John teaches.  

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