Dancing Leaves In Fawn Low Bowl: How Emilie Handbuilt This Amazing Piece

 Dancing Leaves in Fawn Bowl by Emilie Parker

Its early morning and I step out into another beautiful sunny day on the Colorado Front Range as I head for a short walk to my Louisville studio workshop.  At first I clean up a bit and organize a few things.  Then I find myself pulling out a big piece of white clay.  It’s smooth, cool and moist.  I slice off a big piece of the clay and wedge it onto the rock wedging table.  I form it into a lump, and then roll the lump through a slab roller multiple times until it takes on a beautiful elongated oval shape.  I notice that the natural edges of the rolled clay are uneven, which my friend Deidra calls “laced”.  I am intrigued with the way that the laced edges break out into ruffles.  I avoid touching the edges as I smooth the clay with a rib.  I’m stroking and compressing the big oval surface and making it even smoother until there are no visible impressions showing from the slab rolling process.  I flip over the big slab carefully and stroke and compress the opposite side also with the rib.  

Now the slab will sit for awhile.  I go back to cleaning up a bit, mixing things and tending to my other pieces until I find myself staring at that big oval slab.  I’m imagining all the possibilities for this slab of white clay with the lace edges.   Next I pick up a tool and incise large leaves and swirls in it filling the entire surface with wide soft impressions.  The image of a sleigh bed shaped low bowl emerges and I am excited.  The shape fits and curls perfectly in the mold; the lace edges are dramatic. 

Then, painstakingly, I work the fissures and folds into shape and strengthen and smooth until I am happy with the outcome.  Now covered with plastic, the piece is set aside to dry slowly over the next month. 

With the first firing completed, it is time for imagining what glaze will accent the piece correctly.   I start with an underglaze called Fawn that is a beautiful light brown – almost golden color.  This is brushed on and wiped off until all the leaves are a golden dancing swirl.

The graceful natural beauty of Dancing Leaves in Fawn was not revealed until I opened the kiln after the last firing and pulled the piece out into the light.  It took my breath away.


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