Colored Porcelain, Agateware & Nerikami

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Weaving color into porcelain is a complex technique but when mastered the results are magical. 

Creating is as necessary to me as breathing.  When my hands began to give out from my previous fiber work I discovered clay, which allows me to continue to be immersed in the textures and colors I’ve always loved so much. 

 Through trial and error, I eventually came up with ways to allow me to unconventionally throw pottery while accommodating my hands and fused back. Standing while throwing on a tabletop wheel, slab building and using home made tools has allowed me to continue creating. 

Agateware or Marbleware 

 When I first saw agateware sometimes called marbleware, I fell down the colored clay rabbit hole and have been there since, using mason and inclusion stains, 

 Agateware is done on a pottery wheel, giving completely random patterns that I have very little control over.  When it’s finished, the reveal is always surprising and I give up control, which can feel liberating. I have no idea what it’s going to look like until the reveal at the end. The only control I have is over the colors and amounts used during the throw.  

Nerikomi/Neriage 

 Nerikomi ceramics is a traditional Japanese pottery technique that involves layering and manipulating multiple colored clays to create intricate patterns and designs. It’s been around  for centuries, becoming known to the world around the 16th century. Most Nerikomi  is created by hand, using slab rolling techniques. 

It is a very controlled and precise method to create specific patterns.  

Both methods are time consuming, but Nerikomi especially so. 

 Adding stains changes the chemistry of the clay depending upon the color itself as well as the percentage of stain used, and getting all the colors to the same moisture levels is critical and time consuming. If everything isn’t at the same level of moisture, at some point in the process cracks develop.  

 I’ve adapted many polymer clay techniques to my clay using skinner blending, millefiori and mokume gane. Nerikomi blocks can sometimes take several weeks to make.