Earth, Fire and Salt by Micki Schloessingk
Micki has been making pots for many years. Sensitivity of form and knowledge of material are integral to the making of each pot. Inspired at an early age by the terracotta pots and orange soil of India, Micki has a profound respect for the earth beneath our feet. Understanding its qualities and its limitations, Micki works with clay to transform it into pots that we can use and enjoy every day. Holding one of Micki’s tea bowls in your hands is comforting, pouring cool water from one of her bottles is an easy pleasure. Micki makes work that is tactile. It has a reassuring weight to it, its forms are naturally ergonomic and its textures are fascinating.
A leading maker of wood fired pots, Micki is one of a small handful of such accomplished potters making wood fired and salt glazed pots worldwide. Her profound insight into the language of clay has grown through her nurture of the medium. The assured forms, evocative textures and rich colorations that Micki achieves in her work do not come about through happenstance. Although there is inevitably an element of unpredictability in the firing process, Micki has a sensitive knowledge of the palette of wood firing and salt glazing, one that informs her every decision in the studio.
Micki throws and hand-builds her pots. Some of her seemingly most simple, hand-built pieces are the most considered, shaped by hand for other hands to hold. Micki’s wood fire kiln is a dynamic entity in itself, shifting with each firing. The two day firing cycle is physically demanding and requires keen attention throughout. The placement of the pots in the kiln determines the paths taken by the flames, the salt and the wood ash, each of which dramatically affects the finish of the pots.
For the past sixteen years Micki has developed Bridge Pottery, where she lives and works, in the rural village of Cheriton on the Gower peninsular in south Wales. Bridge Pottery comprises a gallery, kiln shed, studio spaces, clay room and versatile outdoor areas. It is both a vigorous and peaceful environment into which Micki welcomes visiting potters, students and members of the public. Creative conversation and collaboration are integral to Micki’s practice that, by its nature, continues to evolve with each pot that is fired.