Good Impressions Part 4: Saggar firing with Terry Shepherd

Terry Shepherd is an expert in saggar firing and the videos we’re seeing today are from a workshop he taught. His site, Shepherd Clay Works, shows his range of work. Shepherd is the artist-in-residence and director of the ceramics program at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts. His site states that Shepherd “has become known for introducing students to low-fire saggar and thin shell saggar, with fuming techniques utilizing natural combustibles such as tamarisk , salt brined fescue grasses, salt, copper and cobalt sulphate to produce a unique surface embellishment.” Shepherd does beautiful work and I like how he uses material like tamarisk and seaweed. One of my most beloved pieces (photo on right) was made by my teacher Mr. Takehara’s assistant, George. It’s a small porcelain bowl. The interplay of celadon, orange, and impressions from organic matter make it a vessel that has the hallmarks of perfection. George’s technique differs from Shepherd’s but they both create masterpieces. This is a worthwhile series and a person can learn much by watching Shepherd speak and demonstrate his techniques in this workshop. Think about saggar firing some of your own work. You won’t be let down by the results. It’s summertime…perfect weather for such work!

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