‘Fire and Metal: Recent Saggarware’ is a display of intense vessels fresh from the fire. These are pieces that individually act as the focal point of any room and, as a grouping, will knock your eyes out.
Saggarware derives its name from the ‘saggar’, or container it has been fired in. While the saggar was originally used to keep ash away from pots during the firing process, potters eventually realized that if various metals and combustibles were added to a saggar, the resulting piece would be covered in interesting colours and patterns.
Paul Stewart’s saggarware is wrapped with wire, copper tape, and other metals and then placed inside a saggar along with copper carbonate powder, salt, and combustibles such as sawdust, paper, banana skins, pinecones and cat food (seriously). Once inside the kiln, the salt and copper powder cause a pink blush, the metals cause various metallic hues, and the smoke from the combustibles turns areas of the pot gray and black. Stewart also uses iridescent raku glazes that react in the oxygen depleted kiln atmosphere.
The work will be displayed in a black background so each piece will ‘float’ in front of you. The window housing this display is situated in the lovely home goods boutique, The Merchant of York. Stop by and see what ceramic art is capable of.