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David Emery has been a serious amateur potter for the best part of forty years. He had a semi formal training at an Art School in London following this he set up a studio with 4 other potters in a basement of a shop in Putney. Where he designed and built the pottery wheels and managed to get a second hand kiln weighing over a ton into the basement. He initially worked with domestic stoneware selling in exhibitions and craft fairs. But also developed an interest in intricate reduction fired porcelain bowls and carved boxes.
On moving to Dorset nearly 25 years ago with his young family he designed and built a large gas fired reduction kiln where he gained his greatest pleasure from highly decorated vases up to several feet high and large bowls decorated with coloured slips covered with a transparent glaze.
The rapidly rising cost of fuel and also becoming fed up with carting heavy gas cylinders of gas through the mud to the bottom of his garden prompted a complete change of direction back to oxidation firing using on-glaze decoration. This technique can produce both much more delicate brushwork as well as more intense colours.
He has spent the last year he has turned his pottery into something more resembling a chemistry laboratory to develop a combination of Cone 6 oxidation glazes and on-glaze colours. Cone 6 is at the lower end of the stoneware firing range and is not exploited by many potters who still prefer to fire to higher temperatures. However, at cone 6 the clay is fully vitrified and just as durable but most importantly requires significantly less electricity to fire and the kiln elements last much longer. He has been using very well insulated kiln which combined with output from the solar panels on his roof dramatically reduces firing costs as well as being very environmental friendly.
David still wants to keep his hand in throwing very large reduction ware so he is part of the Dorset Pottery Group team building a large wood fired kiln. One of David’s other activities is running a biodiversity group in his village which among other things is actively involved in restoring hedgerows. In a rather convenient symmetry the considerable number of dead elms that the group are removing will provide the fuel for the DPG kiln.
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