As a working artist I am influenced by the age in which I live in and my immediate surrounding Therefore these factors effect the way I use my materials and the solutions I achieve in my work. My major goals have changed very little through out my career as a clay artist but my work continues to evolve. My ambition is to continue working with clay, sometimes metal, as a sculptor, exploring the possibilities of FORM, pushing the limits of my media Also, and continuing to exploring new avenues for developing glazes and other color solutions suitable for my work.
In the past, this effort has resulted in my developing thousands of new glazes and hundreds of new clay bodies with many of both being reflected in my work. As I continue my work, there are two areas I am very much interested in pursuing:
(1) Some years back I invented the technique of applying a band, a collar, and ruffles to the forms being made on the potter's wheel. This technique was all done during the throwing process. I developed this technique on all my basic wheel shapes from the cylinder to the sphere. These pieces were first finished or glazed in stoneware and later found to be highly suitable for the raku process of firing. I feel I have only begun to explore the possibilities for this technique.
(2) For several years I have been doing primitive or pit firings. However, during the past two years in an attempt to produce a more durable pit fired clay body and to produce a more color other than the traditional blacks and grays, I have created a new concept for pit firing. In testing my theory using a traditional pit, I reached white heat during the first firing. A new spectrum of color was obtained at this temperature. Additional test firings have resulted in the development of a finished piece equivalent to stoneware in durability.
The process involves the addition of air in a controlled way making the burn more efficient. I have experienced several advantages to this process. First it enables me to burn all types of waste material like saw dust, horse and cow manure, leaves and twigs from the yard, any organic garbage, etc. Second it burns clean and relatively smokeless. It is good for the environment to be able to burn undesirable waste and not hurt the atmosphere. To fire your work at a time when natural gas and electricity has become a premium, and fire with waste materials and garbage, at the same time obtaining a new spectrum of color is most satisfying.
In conclusion it is my intention to continue developing my ruffle forms thrown on the potter’s wheel in the future. In addition, my major emphasis will be the re-design of the primitive firing pit and perfecting its firing process. I believe this process offers great potential for the clay artist in the future, both as a means of firing and an opportunity to expand the color process. More importantly, as our other fuels and raw materials become more limited, this will offer a definite alternative for the clay artist.
Lewis & Eric Snyder