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Byd Bach Little World Alis Joscelyne


Byd Bach - Little World

The artist

The process

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The pieces


Byd Bach - Little World

As an artist, I work to explore various different themes interpreted through nature. Looking at impermanency, intimacy, change and resilience to inspire shape, line and form. The natural world provides constant inspiration and resources that I am learning to utilise in a mutually beneficial way. Through use of various different materials, I aim to highlight a familiarity with nature and evoke a deeper sense of connection. I find being outside in the ever changing environment healing and helpful in gaining perspective. -Alis Joscelyne.

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Byd Bach - Little World

A note on the project

This collection is called “Byd Bach/ Little World” and the focus is on perception and perspective. Exploring the idea of zooming out to see everything as tiny as it is from outer space whilst simultaneously zooming in to make visual comparisons with lichen and rock formations. Looking at the earth as one and resonating with the idea of the global citizen. They are pit fired ceramics pieces intended to be objects of meditation and contemplation. The pieces also have a multi-sensory sound element to them as they have ceramic beads inside that tinkle when moved. The intention is that they are objects to be held, moved, shaken and rocked, made for tactility and touch, to be listened to and felt as well as to be looked at and appreciated visually.

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Byd Bach - Little World

Pit Firing: The Process

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Byd Bach - Little World

1 Step one is to make and bisque fire the work, it is possible to raw fire but increases the chances of breakages.

I use a bowl as a former and make the pieces in two halves, I add in the dried clay beads for the sound element and then I attach the halves to form a sphere.

After the halves are joined together I use a wooden spoon to refine the shape and then carve the design in with a small metal carving tool.

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Byd Bach - Little World

2 I used a slip called terra sigillata to create a smooth pale surface that would be a good canvas for the colours created in the fire.

Terra sigillata is a fine clay slip made up of water, raw clay powder and a deflocculant. It is painted onto bone dry work before the bisque firing.

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Byd Bach - Little World

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Once the work is bisque fired, I twist copper wire around the pieces, this is to create interesting visual effects in the pit fire.

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Byd Bach - Little World

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The next step is to collect and dry lots of different combustibles. I used orange peel, banana peel, onion skins, tea, eggshells.. basically dry your compost!

Nut shells are also a good combustible and can have crackle effects on the pots, here I had walnut and hazelnut shells. Wire wool is great for orange and brown colouring.

I also collected driftwood and seaweed which are good for their high salt content. 9


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Byd Bach - Little World

Next is digging the pit. This took about 5 minutes, a couple of swipes with the digger and voila! Without the digger it would have been a very long process with a spade!

Building up the edges of the pit helped to make it deeper without more digging.

It is important to do a have a fire to dry out the pit before the real firing to avoid any dampness ruining the process.

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Byd Bach - Little World

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As well as the dried compost I added copper carbonate, the steel wool, copper wire, sheep’s wool and some hair. It is important to get these colorants as close as possible to the pots, I did use some of the copper wire to pin things to the pots which I think was successful. 11

For the firing I lined the bottom of the pit with sawdust then placed the work in and added all the colorant combustibles around them.


Byd Bach - Little World

7 Once all the combustible colorants are carefully placed it’s time to build the fire.

This is a delicate job as you don’t want to build it in such a way that a big log will fall on the work!

I used newspaper, cardboard, dry brambles, driftwood, softwood and hardwood.

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Byd Bach - Little World

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Once the fire is built up it’s time to light it!

Water is the enemy so all the wood must be as dry as possible. This is very important lower down in the fire, nearer to the pots. As the fire gets going any wood you put on should be dry but it’s not as crucial as the heat of the fire will dry it soon enough!

The aim is to have the fire burning hot for at least 2 hours, this takes quite a pile of wood!

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Byd Bach - Little World

9 When the fire has burned down and there are only a few lazy flames left it’s time to cover it up.

The pit is covered with tin sheets and left to cool completely. This will take between 24 hours and 2 days. Patience is key!

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Byd Bach - Little World

10 Time for the reveal! A very exciting part of the process where the pots are uncovered from the ashes.

Laying them out after they’re out of the fire is the first time you get to see what they look like and whether they’re intact or not!

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Byd Bach - Little World

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Once they’re out of the fire the wire can come off and they need a little bit of a clean up with a cloth and some water to rub off any stubborn char marks.

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Byd Bach - Little World

After they’re all cleaned up they can be polished to increase the shine. This works particularly well on the pieces without terra sig or on the parts where the terra sig has chipped off in the firing. I made a polish using equal parts beeswax, boiled linseed oil and turpentine. It works well but I didn’t feel the need to put it on the pots where the terra sig had stuck well since they already have a good shine.

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Byd Bach - Little World

A waxed and polished piece with not terra sigillata on. The polish has hugely improved this piece and given it a shine it did not originally have.

A waxed and polished piece with terra sigillata successfully applied. There is not much difference here as this piece already had a shine when it came out of the fire.

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Byd Bach - Little World

The Finished Pieces

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Byd Bach - Little World

Thank you for taking the time to look through this book. Here are my details, please feel free to get in touch: alisbranwen@gmail.com 07476731862 @arty.alis alisbranwen.co.uk

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Profile for Alis.Joscelyne

Byd Bach - Little World  

Digital portfolio detailing process and outcome of Alis Joscelyne's Byd Bach - Little World collection of wood mounted pit fired ceramics.

Byd Bach - Little World  

Digital portfolio detailing process and outcome of Alis Joscelyne's Byd Bach - Little World collection of wood mounted pit fired ceramics.

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