Marion lives and works just outside of Edinburgh, graduating from Edinburgh University/ Edinburgh College of Art with an MA (Hons) Fine Art in 1987. At the College of Art, Marion studied sculpture and print-making before going on to specialise in drawing and painting. She learned to throw clay as a teenager, being taught by her father. Over the years Marion has continued to learn from other potters in workshops and tutorials.
Marion makes thrown pots, bowls and vases using both raku technique and sawdust fired stoneware.
With the raku pieces, the pots are fired to biscuits in an electric kiln, once cooled and glazed they are brought to temperature then taken from the kiln red hot and put in to covered containers of sawdust and other combustible materials. When taken from the sawdust they are then plunged in to cold water to create the final finish. At this stage the pots are noisy – hissing, whistling and spitting with the sudden change of temperature. With the raku firing, the ofter iridescent and shiny glaze with the matte-black of the unglazed fired clay creates an interesting contrast of textures and colours.
With stoneware, most green ware pieces are hand burnished before biscuit firing in an electric kiln. The biscuit ware is then fired again in a sawdust kiln to give the finished effect. A slip is sometimes used as a resist for the sawdust firing to give the surface a more defined pattern.
The overall effect aimed for with the stoneware is natural and simple. Marion likes to make surfaces smooth like beach pebbles or rougher like artefacts uncovered at an archaeological dig. Rather than encase the pots in a hard, glassy, glazed shell the burnished surface gives the pots a slight sheen. The final sawdust firing gives the surface a finish over which there is little control but is left to the fire and smoke to create.
With the raku ware and stoneware, Marion prefers not to use glazes which hide the clay completely but to keep the natural clay surface exposed so the pots are warmer to the touch.
Each piece is unique depending on the effect the heat, flames, smoke and what have on the clay and glaze.
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