The Campfire Collection
Few things soothe the soul like poking a stick at a campfire
As our kindling shyly sparks into a slightly larger glow we gently coax it into a welcoming flame. Like moths we cling to its warmth, and with our poking sticks in hand we stoke our campfire. Losing ourselves momentarily to the hypnotic blinking embers, the solace we sought now slowly floats around us. The fire's spent embers gently smoke while we drift off to sleep as the nocturnal animals stir around us. We rise as the day birds awaken and with the fire long cooled, we are left with only an ashy momento of the night before. Each campfire's timber will burn unique and different - for this reason we treasure its ash and collect what we can to use in our ceramic glazes. We keep each campfire glaze site specific, including only one camp's ash in each iteration - never washing away any of the solubles so the timber we've burnt can continue its story. It is one of our ways to preserve such moments in a casual continuum of adventuring and creating.
Indian Head, Crowdy Bay NP, Australia
Tucked up above the crashing waves, a small clearing sits high upon a headland fringed by bush and sheoak trees. The shore below is a mass of rocky coastline formed by Triassic era lava flows and eroded by the ocean into columns, clefts and arches. Back lit into dreamy dusk purples and blues and front lit by the sun in the firey reds and oranges of a new day, the cliff top forms the perfect vantage to watch the migrating whales as they pass by, headed for warmer climes.
Scooped from our spent campfire of red gum and discarded banksia pods, these charcoaled remains were minimally processed into our ash chun glaze. Once applied over a tenmoku glaze, this ash chun falls like a delicate sea foam left by the ebbs of a twilight sea.
Mt Wilson, Blue Mountains NP, Australia
Nestled on the northern side of the Blue Mountains is the lovely basalt cap of Mount Wilson. After driving the long windy roads flanked by dense evergreen bushland, it is a wonderful moment when you suddenly enter a world set ablaze by the luxuriant wildfire of deciduous autumnal colours. Awakening amongst these russet tones the day is started slowly, huddled around a campfire, exactly the same way as the previous night had ended.
This particular campfire was fuelled with pine, red gum and windfall found surrounding our campsite. Once cool enough, the fire’s ashy remains were collected and minimally processed into a modern Nuka glaze which was then applied over a dark iron rich and flecked clay body. Curiously if you look deep into a finished piece you can gaze upon the glittering particles of what remains from the ash of this Autumn campfire.
Gloucester River, Barrington Tops, Australia
Along the gravel road that winds through the lower east side of Barrington Tops lies a shady glade where the sunlight shyly flitters through the gum leaves. Perched atop their favourite stoops the guardians of this campsite are of the feathered kind, their bellies kept round by their worm rich hunting grounds. As dusk fades soft thump thumps announce the arrival of the wardens of the night, a brigade of Red-necked Pademelons, ever watchful over us; a pair of lone campers keeping warm by their campfire. The Kookaburras, relieved of their duties call the day to the end, their rolling cackles echoing across the treetops. All the while the Gloucester River calmly flows nearby, its bubbling acoustics floating across the clearing.
The next morning we collected the ash from the dewy remains of our campfire, which was fuelled mostly by the windfall of the Paperbark and Blue Gum trees that kept our camp in a deep shade. This ash was kept unwashed and was only dry sieved before it was added to our Shinnuka glaze recipe. The glaze was then applied to our tumblers which are hand thrown from an iron rich clay. Once fired in a reduction atmosphere to stoneware temperatures, a smokey blue glass forms over the dark chocolate clay body with small freckles of iron which burst through the soft blue surface.
Banksia Green, MUngo Brush, Australia
Beyond the sand dunes we can hear the waves crash against the shore - a gentle reminder of where we are. It won’t be long until the birds awaken and the dolphins commence their play, carving through the turquoise waters. Time appears suspended the moment before the sun illuminates the surrounding Banksia trees.
The ash for this glaze was collected from the campfires we made during our stay in Banksia Green. Applied over an iron laden clay body, these wheel thrown vessels were fired for over 10 hours to stoneware temperatures resulting in surfaces ranging from satin whites through to mottled blues and greys that ebb and flow beneath a glossy surface.
To Capture Smoke (1 & 2)
Stitched reflections on the charcoaled ambience and smouldering aroma left by the smoke of a campfire. Impossible to hold, these are our crystalline captures of a whisp of smoke before it dissipates into nothingness.
( 18cm and 8cm in diameter respectively, Giclee prints on ricepaper, sewn together using 100% cotton thread )
Jounama Creek, Talbingo Mountain, Australia
Flowing from the high country of the Snowy Mountains, a small creek bubbles and gurgles beside a secluded campsite. Here the trees are rich with avian life; Kestrels, Gang Gangs, Black Cockatoos and neighbourhood Wrens call and warble, hopping about, completing their morning routines. The Autumn sunbeams gleam in the crisp air and warm chilled cheeks as they coax you to linger for a while longer amongst the foothills of the Australian Alpine.
Collected after our morning campfire, this ash contains pine, red gum and small amounts of windfall found next to our campsite. Minimally processed and left unwashed, this glaze flows over a wholly Australian clay body, reminiscent of a mountain stream, sparkling in the sunlight as it trickles its way to the lands below.
Victorian Highlands, Australia
Nestled in elevated climes, surrounded by dense snow gum woodlands and rocky outcrops, sits a shining lake. Billowy clouds skim softly upon its surface, masterfully orchestrated by the wind into a rippled abstraction of blues and greys. Loose brush strokes of bushland green vignette this liquid canvas, the mountains and sky united into a fluid composition of the surrounding Alpine.
The ashes gathered for these glazes were collected from the remains of the fires that kept us warm whilst we camped underneath the high Alpine skies of Mt Buffalo National Park. Our campfires were fuelled using only local red gum and windfall from the surrounding snow gums. Floating over varying iron rich and speckled clay bodies, foggy mountain whites and pale lake greens reflect the early moods of Autumn in the Victorian High Country.
Lake Mournpall, Mallee Country, Australia
During our trip to the outback we spent a night camping deep in the Mallee on the shore of Lake Mournpall. After a few defeating days on the road, where flooding had delayed our journey and re-routed us through odd country towns and regional cities, we welcomed the atmospheric silence broken by the warbles of the butcherbirds nested in the trees above us. As our campfire crackled and the resident frog life started their twilight symphony, we watched the stars appear and felt our road trip frustrations fall away into the darkness.
Our Mallee campfire was fuelled using windfall from the surrounding Red River Gum and Black Box trees. Due to our short stay, we were only able to collect 200 grams of useable ash, this remained unwashed and dry sieved before being added to our Shinnuka glaze recipe. With only a small supply of this raw ingredient we applied this ash glaze to our bisque fired tumblers over the top of an iron saturated Tenmoku glaze. When reduction fired to over 1300°C, the glaze's iron changes it's molecular structure within the kiln’s oxygen reduced atmosphere and small amounts of gas are released through the surface of the glaze, variegating the Shinnuka and leaving a beautiful blue hares fur upon the glossy black surface. Iron flecks blossom through the glaze on the inside, reflecting any passing light and reveal a depth of metallic reds.