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24 -September -2017 - 14:05
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Tim Smith feed

 

I am a ceramic sculptor working from my own studio in rural North Devon. I moved to the West Country with my family in 1988 to enjoy the opportunities for moor walking, bird watching and wildlife study.

 

I have exhibited at Broomhill Arts Hotel, the Appledore Festival, the Burton, the Elliott and the Griffins Yard Galleries, and in our own studio during the North Devon Festival Art Treks in June each year.

 

Artist's Statement

 

Through my sculpture I hope to pass on my passion for wildlife to others, and to emphasise the need to conserve and care for the world around us.

 

I use both Raku and stoneware clays, firing the work in the electric kiln in the studio and in a Raku kiln in the garden, designed and built myself. I am developing Ash Glazes from recycled wood ash from the wood-burner that heats our cottage.

A little about Raku pottery…

Raku firing began in Japan over 350 years ago and is named for the family who initiated such firings. Raku pieces became prized for use in tea ceremonies. Traditionally Raku pieces are hand moulded rather than wheel thrown, which adds to their character and they are usually quite porous due to low firing temperatures. Traditionally they are immersed into water straight after removal from the kiln or allowed to air cool. Lead Glazes are traditionally used but the art form has been much experimented with by contemporary potters such as Tim Smith since Raku firing was first around.

In Raku, a ceramic piece is heated very quickly (40 / 50 mins) to a temperature of approximately 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. This differs from other forms of firing as kilns are normally bought up to higher temperatures over a period of hours and sometimes even days. Gas kilns are especially good for Raku firings as they can be heated up quickly. The gas flame is normally enhanced by an electric blower/fan, which blows oxygenated air on to the flame allowing it to burn much hotter than normal. This is similar to a metal forge and the blacksmith’s use of bellows to enhance the heat of the forge.

To remove the piece from the red-hot kiln you need to have good protective clothing on, a leather apron or sturdy pair of thick cotton overalls some asbestos / leather gloves and a pair of tongs can come in very useful. Remember the Kiln is extremely hot and the heat is very intense in the surrounding area so you have to be very careful when using a Raku Kiln. The results of which are very unpredictable but always beautiful.

 

POLARIS

The creation of something beautiful.

Polaris placed in my home made garden kiln, ready to fire.

 

The removal of Polaris from the reduction bin

 

Polaris in all its true glory finished and complete and on exhibition at the Elliot Gallery North Devon

 

This is a project completed recently and underlines my concern for our stewardship of Planet Earth. The first three images above reflect the

work.

 

The Polar Bear is an enigma, striding the roof of the world alone. For half his year he hunts in the world of the midnight sun, for the remainder he sleeps deep in an ice-cave while the Polar winds bring screaming freezing chaos.

 

Our intervention and lack of respect for our environment is accelerating change. The madness of Arctic oil prospecting is fanned by our continued carbon dependency. Rising sea temperatures are pushing back the ice, and this magnificent wanderer now has the fight of his life to survive.  His ice is breaking up. His world is falling apart. It breaks my heart to see him slowly cornered.

 

I made two Polar Bears, sculpted from a solid block of clay, hollowed out and fired twice in the kiln to finish them. I have re-fired my bears, using Raku white crackle, copper and turquoise glazes. I fired them almost to destruction in the Raku kiln at 980 Centigrade, and smothered their glowing bodies in the sawdust reduction bin for an hour. Then, covered in smoking ash, too hot to handle, I plunged them into ice cold water. Their shining blackened bodies stand on glass, a mirror to their world; cracked, fissured and shattered.

We have to act now. This is a shout for help. Go out and tell the others.

Tim can be contacted via this site or directly at

Email:timsmith127@btinternet.com

Phone:01769 550963

Address: Rosemary Cottage, Meshaw, South Molton, Devon, EX36 4NE.

Please dont forget to mention that you saw him first on ArtsApart.co.uk

 



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