Joanna Still

Contemplation exhibition

The vessel remains Joanna's primary interest for its historical context and cultural significance, its durability and the information it contains.

Joanna's development as a potter has evolved over 30 years of studio practice, enhanced and informed by projects in Mexico and Ethiopia where she has worked with indigenous potters and studied traditional ceramic culture.   She makes simple smoke fired forms.  Practical considerations of function have shifted as she explores what the vessel can hold in a fundamental sense, what it can reveal, evoke or recall.

Current work - Smoke fired vessels

The vessels have been made by hand on a potter's wheel.  The piece is then worked over many times with a metal tool to create an energetic surface before being lightly burnished with a smooth stone.  When completely dry a fine clay "slip" is applied and polished with a soft cloth to induce a slight sheen.  No glaze is used.  The pieces are then fired to a temperature of 950 degrees c and when cool, are wrapped in various dry plant materials then buried in a kiln chamber filled with sawdust and wood shavings. This is lit from above and burns slowly down over several days creating a smoke filled environment which affects the pieces in unusual ways, leaving some areas deeply carbonised, others with atmospheric traces of plant imprints or smoke shadows.