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Shirley Cadmus

 Artist’s Statement

                 I love the challenge of the wheel in forming rounded or bottle shapes with small openings at the top, and the unpredictable earthy results of Raku, wood, and pit firing. Always experimenting with color oxides, glazes and burnable materials, each piece of pottery is totally unique. Expanding the range of firing techniques, I built a high fire wood-burning kiln based on the Olsen Fast Fire kiln. I am captivated by the interaction of earth, fire and water in the creation of objects whose surfaces capture and reflect this interaction.

            I hesitate to call my work “pottery”, as that usually refers to functional ware. Creating one-of-a-kind pieces, I feel a great deal of satisfaction giving life to formless clay. Nature is very important to me. I often knead various sands into the clay that have been collected during my travels or brought back to me by friends or relatives. Glass filaments, colored mica, and lava are sometimes placed around rims before glaze firing.  All of my wood-fired glazes contain ashes from Mt. St. Helen’s volcano mixed in as part of the recipe. I also work tiny copper filaments into clay and glazes. The gold glaze contains silver nitrate among other things. It was developed as a tribute to a dear friend named Goldie who died of cancer. In the reduction phase of Raku firing, I have recently been experimenting with Spanish moss and various seaweeds.

        The Textured Palette series involves the use of a palette knife to apply thick smooth slip containing various oxides and carbonates. After bisque firing, a glaze is applied and the object is Raku fired.

           The Planetary series is inspired by the beautiful pictures of Mars, the Moon and other planets as seen on the NASA channel and at their website. Characteristic is the mostly dry surfaces. Some pieces have splashes representing water. Others may have small chunks of lava, copper or glass.

           Currently serving as an adjunct professor at Danville Community College and Averett University, both located in Danville, Virginia, I live and maintain a studio in Semora, North Carolina.