Susan Barrett

 Susan is an award- winning potter living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.  Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Mint Museum, Rock Mount Art Museum and the City of Mesa, Arizona.  She has exhibited at the Smithsonian and in international juried competitions in the United States, Japan and Germany.

The relation of surface and form is important in each of my vessels.  The shapes come from an ancient and universal family of rounded forms.  Using patterns, I organize the random and chaotic pit-firing markings.  These patterns are sometimes mathematical, sometimes emotional, but always drawn from within and are intended to evoke images of an evolving planet.  Each piece is wheel-thrown, stone burnished and then coated with terra sigillata.  After bisque firing, the patterns are created with a wax resist and the vessel is fired in a raku kiln to 1400F; they are then placed red-hot in sawdust where the actual pit firing takes place.  Each vessel achieves a uniqueness that is impossible to duplicate.  After firing, the pots are cleaned to remove any residue, allowed to dry and then coated with a natural tung oil varnish to protect the surface and enhance the coloration.  From start to finish, the entire process takes 4-6 weeks.  The pots are bisque fired as high as possible for durability, but low enough to maintain the smooth surface and survive the thermal shock of pit firing.  Therefore, the clay is still porous and not meant to hold water.