Swoshpots is a very young brand, it was created two years ago, during a pottery class. It comes from combining my favorite Japanese brush, very similar to a pennant by swoshing the cobalt-oxide on the porcelain bowl. Great fun, muscle memory from my childhood gymnastics working with the pennant came back to life, and the marvelous sense of flow. My creative side has been within me since childhood. Painting, clay building, knitting, photographing with my grandmother on her farm on the west coast of Sweden. Learning by doing – in a safe and warm environment – built my sense for form, style, color, design and elegans.
The realisation of my ideas often starts in my sketchbook with a very clear image in my head, or in the process, on the wheelhead following the clay. My experience shows me, that clay has its own will, and often – very often – wants to lead the way. This is a really good thing, but sometimes frustrating. Especially when my image isn’t at all similar to what’s in front of me on the wheel head. This is where experience kicks in, and the cooperation between hands and clay finally results in cups, plates, vases and bowls matching the sketch and visualization in my head and heart. A good feeling of flow, fulfillment and completion.
Making ceramics as a potter is more complex than first realized holding a unique cup or eating out of a handmade bowl. There are thousands of clay bodies, surely a million of glaze variations, and hundred ways of firing the ceramics. This complexity of a craft takes more than a lifetime to master, but instead of feeling intimidated, this complexity gives me the joy of learning and a creative challenge. To some extent it’s an advantage for a potter to have some academic knowledge of design, physics, mechanics and chemistry. A portion of stamina, endurance and determination sure is needed. For example learning to throw on a wheelhead demands all of these competences. When throwing bowls you have to pull the clay out from the center at some time. Making a vase is the opposite, you want to pull the clay as straight and high as possible. Plates on the other hand needs to be flattened out, evenly compressing the clay thoroughly. These different techniques are all combined in making my swoshpots products.
The Poké Bowls …
This is an example of how a custom order can be. The order was for Em Kjellberg, who was in need of deeper food bowls than the plates she already had.
- We started with discussing size and form, choosing a light stoneware because of its abilities to be thrown very thin and elegant.
- Then the important preparation stage sets in; wedging, and weighing clay, measuring sticks in place. Wedging is important since this process makes the clay evenly elastic and easier to control. The weighing helps to create very similar bowls, both in width, height and how thin they are.
- And off we go into producing bowls from a lump of clay by throwing on the wheel.
- When the bowls have dried to the leatherhard stage, I trim the foot and forms the outside curve so that it matches the inner curve of the bowl. If the outside curve matches the inner curve of the bowl, the form will look and feel light and elegant.
- Then the bowls are put under plastic, to dry to a bonehard dry stage reducing the risk of S-cracks.
- They are bisque fired up to 900 degrees Celsius, after that they are sanded.
- Glazed by dipping the bowls in a big bucket of glaze, this is like dipping candy in chocolate, you have to turn the bowls, to reduce drips and drops. Painting some decorations with the pennant, to create individual bowls.
- Then into the kiln for the last time, glaze firing up to 1250 degrees Celsius in an oxidation atmosphere.
- Checking flaws. Finishing off the bowls by grinding the foot with a diamond sandpaper.
- Wrapping, and packing the bowls safely, and off they go to Em Kjellberg.