Michele Bianco

"The starting point for my work is always walking and sketching. I'm inspired by the forms, patterns and textures in the world around me – the mesh of branches on wintry trees, the geometric patterns in eroded rock faces or the intricate structures of pods, leaves and petals.

In the studio I work with a range of stoneware clays and enjoy the way the forms I build are affected by the differences in structure of these clays. All my pieces are hand built using a range of techniques; pinching, coiling and slab building. Once the initial form is created, it goes through a series of manipulations until I'm happy with the shape. The piece is then allowed to dry slowly over several days and during this phase the surface is altered by hand carving into the clay. The form the carving takes is determined by the shape of the vessel. As the piece gradually dries it is refined by degrees.

Works are glazed using glazes developed and formulated by me, allowing subtle adjustments to opacity, colour and texture. The glazes are chosen for their appearance and visual interaction with the clay and are mainly decorative in nature (not food-safe or dishwasher-proof!). Pieces are fired 2 or 3 times up to a temperature of around 1200C.

For me, the process of making is an absorbing and intuitive one. I hope that the finished pieces also become objects of contemplation and enjoyment for others." .

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