Tessa Wolfe Murray is a studio potter of longstanding. She is also a selected professional member of the Craft Potters Association. Her slab-built smoke-fired pots can be found in public and private collections across the globe.
Tessa is one of 35 British ceramic artists to join Cambridge Ceramics at its launch. Visit Tessa’s page to view her work and maybe even invest in a pot! All the works listed on her page will be shipped by Tessa from her studio in Hove directly to the purchaser’s home.
We all have lockdown stories – here is Tessa’s
In the middle of March, Stefan a young Croatian friend of the family came to stay with us for a week. He was in between jobs, about to start one in Reading that included accommodation. He was also looking forward to joining a part-time course at the university.
Then Lockdown happened. The job and accommodation offer disappeared, as did the university course. He couldn’t return to his family in Croatia.
Stefan is now living with us. Friends and neighbours are offering him work: clipping hedges, gardening and carpentry.
One day he watched me smokefiring my pots in the garden. I sawdust fire in the open air, usually in a silver foil lined baby bath. When I do demonstrations at shows or for ceramic groups I advertise it as ‘Sawdust Firing in a Cardboard Box’ The title intrigues – of course the box is lined with silver foil!
I developed my firing technique through necessity. I was making high-fired slab-built vessels that were glazed internally. Traditional sawdust firing left me with a pile of broken shards.
My way: the lined container is partially filled with sand and the pot placed in the centre. Small amounts of sawdust lightly soaked in white spirit are sprinkled onto the surface and set alight. When the flames burn out, the pot is turned over and the process repeated.
Stefan watched me and offered to make a video of the process on his smartphone to upload to YouTube. As well as a handy man Stefan is an excellent videographer!