I have over 40 years of pottery production experience focusing on wheel work, natural ash glazes, wild clay and wood firing.
I started making pots at 16 years, experimenting, building different kilns until I completed a Diploma of Ceramics at Canberra School Of Art ANU in the 1980s. This was followed by learning important production skills and spent many hours refining my wood firing techniques with Ian Jones at the Laughing Frog Pottery Gundaroo.
My studio facilities were decimated in the Black Summer Fires. It was almost a year before the site was cleared and a new studio built, and I was ready to prepare for a firing - transforming over 600 kilos of 'wild' clay into enough works to fill my hand-built kiln, and splitting wood for a 100-hour firing. Here's my firing story
I am a kiln builder using the Islamic inspired squinch arch method. This method uses the bricks themselves to form arches and you don't need to use formwork. I have built many kilns using this method and it stands the tests of time.
I have a deep affection for the wood firing process and fire for 70-120 hours duration up to temperatures of 1320`C with the assistance of friends, colleagues and wood firing teams. I am using my 180 cf wood fired trolley kiln that I built.
I love what the Bega Valley can offer a potter. I make my own speciality 'wild' clay from a mix of Mayfield white clay and terracotta clay from our creek. I have gathered a huge load of pine trees that burnt during Black Summer fires so I am rich in fire wood! I enjoy working in my natural environment and utilising a wealth of raw pottery materials such as clay and 'wild' glaze materials, wood ash, feldspar and pyrophelite.
My clay is unique to me and I use liner glaze and then let the natural effects of clay, stone, wood, fire and ash to enrich and decorate my thrown forms. The appeal to me is in the endless variations of the natural ash glazes that capture the essence of the clay body and the firing process. I make functional wares and exhibition pieces that have earthy warm colours and Korean inspired.
I am a dedicated and passionate wood fire specialist potter and instructor. I have been invited to participate in specialist wood fire events throughout the world - Gulgong Australia, Japan, France, Iowa and Montana USA. Through my connections to wood firing networks, I created a unique event called On The Edge of the Shelf International Wood firing festival at Mystery Bay.
My works can be found at Tathra Wharf, Belconnen Arts Centre, Sturt Gallery Mittagong and at the Lazy Lizard Gallery Cobargo.
D Lafferty 2023