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Gallery York

The Stones on display in the York Gallery

Bone Camp Shadows by Emma Smith

Wood fired stoneware installation 2022

October - December 2022

This work was made from wild harvested clay and slips, and was fired with wood for four days and three nights. During this time the kiln is stoked with wood every 5-10 minutes, requiring a community of artists to work together to see the firing through the wee hours of the night. The colours and textures are all the direct result of this atmospheric process – no two pieces can ever be the same. When firing with wood, great care is taken during the loading process to manipulate the fire within the large kiln.

This strategic placing allows for flame marks on the surface of the vessels, and determines where fly ash will land and melt. Wood variety, the rhythm of stoking, and kiln design are all considerations that affect the final work. Upon peak temperature, many of these pieces were buried in charcoal for fuming effects, and then the kiln was sealed off from external air. Additional wood was then added as the kiln cooled (a process known as ‘reduction cooling’) in order to keep the chamber in a reduced-oxygen atmosphere.

Emma Smith is a woodfirer, ceramic artist, writer, and all around multi-hyphenate from Jerseyville ON. Growing up in the shadow of the Niagara escarpment, she aims to celebrate the significance of place, environment and land, and her relationship with it, through her life philosophy and art practice. Exploring this theme largely through woodfired ceramics, her work is made to be experienced quietly, encouraging moments of contemplation and reflection.

‘Bone Camp Shadows’ is a sculptural offering, made during an artist residency in the mountains of Western NC. / @esceramics