C A R O L Y N H E Y D E N R Y C H
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I qualified in Architecture at Wits University in 1985 and practised for many years with my husband, until his death in 2002. I then moved to Magaliesburg, where I resumed my ceramics. I had made pots long before I studied architecture, but both are still a passion.
I have always loved drawing with black ink on white paper. Having qualified before Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) was the norm, we drew everything by hand. Drawing a line then had an emotive quality - hard or soft, direct or wavering, gentle or strong; whereas now a line on a computer is simply the joining of two points.
Porcelain slab so closely emulates paper that drawing onto it came as a natural progression. But, more than that, there is a wonderful quality that emerges with porcelain. If the slab is thin enough - less than a millimeter - it vitrifies in the firing process, producing a translucence in the clay body. Light shines through the walls, showing up the ink lines. I also like to make perforations in the walls as a window grid, so that, together with the translucence and the ink lines, one achieves a visual, layering effect.
But porcelain is a fickle material. It has the capacity of 'remembering' a happening in the building process. A joint, a buckle, or an infill, however carefully mended and smoothed, will show up again in the firing process! Even a flat slab, built into a curve, will flatten out slightly again. When building by hand, as I do, this limits the size of a porcelain pot. I can only build satisfactory vessels of up to 400 mm in height.
So, in order to build larger pots, I reverted to stoneware. It is an 'obedient' material, and I am content to sacrifice the light quality for size. My large stoneware Cityscape pots can now be made up to 1250 mm in height, and lend themselves to more commercial settings. I love drawing the weightless buildings flying into the sky!