Alternative techniques on potters’ hot list

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Girls on Fire members Deb James and Davida Palmer show off examples pit fire and raku pottery pieces, two of more than 60 that will be on display.
Camera IconGirls on Fire members Deb James and Davida Palmer show off examples pit fire and raku pottery pieces, two of more than 60 that will be on display. Credit: South Western Times, Callum Hunter

Four South West potters have been granted their own exhibition at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, showcasing their work until the end of March.

The Girls on Fire exhibition will feature more than 60 unique pieces of pottery, all crafted using alternative methods of firing. It opens tomorrow at 6pm.

Group member Deb James said she loved the social aspect of alternative firing pottery but also the randomness of the end results.

“This is a little bit different because you’re doing it in an open pit or a converted rubbish bin,” she said

“It’s really fun, it’s actually hilarious because we’ve got flames and we’re all pyromaniacs.

“The other processes are much more controlled, meanwhile we come along and do our own thing ... the whole thing is hilarious really.”

Fellow group member Davida Palmer agreed with Mrs James and said a lot of their work was the result of asking “what if”?

“We experiment and we discuss what would happen if we tried such and such,” she said.

The group started out in Mrs Palmer’s backyard and used her existing gas-fired firebrick raku kiln before expanding to use a number of homemade gas and wood-fuelled kilns and a backyard fire pit.

Each piece took about eight weeks from start to finish, according to Mrs Palmer, because of the many steps involved and the time it can take to fire the kilns and pits.

All members have had their fair share of singed hair and burnt fingers but said they tried to be as safe as possible and wear safety gear including fire-resistant gloves and closed-in shoes.

“Someone gave us a fire hydrant for Christmas!” Mrs Palmer said.

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