"stone" cairn lamps, art mirrors, large wall art, natural art sculptures by Jan Jacque in the Finger lakes Region of New York State near Rochester NY.

Artist Jan Jacque

Artist's Bio

Jan Jacque

I received a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology, School for American Craftsmen in 1977. My 35 year career as a full-time potter has been devoted to making beautiful objects for individuals and galleries who appreciate fine craft. I have received many awards for my creations. Four of my pieces are in the permanent collection at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design (Allen Chasanoff Ceramic Collection).

Clay and Fire: The Artistic Process

The clay I use is a fine-textured white clay. I use both 'slab' and 'coil' building methods of construction. With 'slab' construction large sheets of clay are rolled out, very much like pie dough, only bigger. The slabs of clay are then draped into curved bisque forms I have made. When the clay is slightly stiff, I put two of the curved pieces together using a coil (snake) of wet clay. The very large pieces I make by 'coiling' large snakes of clay on top of one another and pinching them together and up. This is a very slow process but it allows me the most control to create any shape I want. Once the form is roughed in the branch or sculpted hardwood is added and fit into its place on the form. It must be removed before the clay starts to shrink as it dries. In the final stages of both methods of construction the clay is paddled, scraped and sanded until very smooth.

Jan Jacque

Ceramic colorants are then airbrushed over the form and bisque fired in an electric kiln. The pieces are fired a second time to attain the smoked finish. My final firing is called Pit Firing. My Pit is actually a large metal box, which I use to contain the combustibles, pots, fire and smoke. I pack the pots in a collection of solid combustibles such as hardwood sawdust, leaves, and straw. After the combustibles have caught fire, I cut the oxygen by placing a lid on the kiln. The fire still burns but makes a very smoky atmosphere in the kiln. The smoke penetrates the clay. The different combustibles leave interesting markings on the pieces called 'flashing'. The smoke and flashings add depth and subtle nature images to the pieces.

The wood must then be refit to the specific clay piece it was made with. This is because the clay shrinks as it dries and is fired. This stage of the process can be very tedious. By slowly sanding and carving the wood is made to fit the clay again. The wood is then finish sanded, stained, and lacquer sealed. The wood is then permanently attached to the clay piece. It is a long complex process, but I think it is worth the end result.

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