Woodfired vase, by Cary Joseph.
Woodfired nesting mixing bowls, by Julie Crosby
I can't remember when I met Cary Joseph or Julie Crosby. Ithaca has always had more than its fair share of potters... but when these two turned Ithaca into a hub of woodfiring fun, it changed everything. When I went to grad school at Utah State, my intention was to fire primarily with wood. After firing only a few kiln loads of pots, I realized that I was too impatient for 2-3 firings a year. Most wood kilns are huge. I needed a faster turn around. The solution is to have multiple people firing in eachother's kilns. Saves on time, labor, cleaning, woodsplitting, etc. Certainly creates a solid community. Cary typically fires with quite a few other potters, both in Corning NY as well as Ithaca and occasionally farther afield. Julie's kiln outside of Ithaca gets fired quite a few times a year, and sees participation from quite a few potters from the Ithaca area, as well as folks from Corning.
One of the challenges of photographing woodfired work in general is that colors tend to the more subtle end of the spectrum. What I love about Cary and Julie's work is that it constantly challenges that generalization. Cary's work continues to explore the richness of surface texture... both from the texture of the coarse clay and from the distribution of fly ash and flashing from the firing. Julie's glaze palette allows her to have food safe surfaces on the interior of her forms, while allowing the wood ash and flashing to wash over her scraped textured exteriors of her pots.
This weekend both potters are participating in the Philadelphia Museum's Craft Show. Stop on down and see their latest work and many more fine craftsmen. I wish Nancy, Aurora and I could be heading down to join them. It's been too many years since we were last there.