Henri Atkinson has always had an eye for line, form and shape. This traces back to his civil engineering career, and means production of the highest technical standard.
Henri’s background involved a range of structural design work, and an output that was always sensitive to aesthetics.
Today his speciality in the ceramics field is creating hand-built coil pots. A key part of this work is in the finishing by burnishing the surface of the work to a fine and subtle sheen by means of rubbing the formed ‘green’ clay for what seems like hours with a wooden spoon. The pots sometimes have added at this point a partial colour slip coating. They are then dried and biscuit fired up to 850 degrees celsius, usually overnight.
The resulting items later have a second ‘bin’ firing at a somewhat lower temperature, for up to 12 hours. For this, the items are generally wrapped in a flexible foil ‘saggar’ in what is effectively a dust-bin, full of sawdust. The sawdust is then set alight.
After burning the sawdust entirely away and the subsequent cooling, the pieces are wax polished to give back their lustre. By this stage, almost magically it seems, there have also been created surface smoke effects and a serendipity of subtle coloration to the pots.
We’re very excited to have Henri exhibiting at West Acre Gallery this autumn. Watch this space for further details.
PLEASE NOTE: Because of the limits on temperature to achieve smoke effects, the pots displayed here are not totally waterproof.