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Gil Harrison Workshop
Back in February of 2002 I had the opportunity to attend a workshop by Oregon artist Gil Harrison
Gil's pieces are very recognizable and present a very consistent style. His forms normally start with an exaggerated basket or vase form that has a narrow foot, very wide belly, and then a narrow neck. The pieces are then ornately embellished with long flowing handles and bars.
One shape he makes is created from two thrown saucer shaped pots. He leaves a heavy foot and then bends out the walls using a large rib. To keep the walls from collapsing, he uses a small blowtorch to partially dry the clay. Two of these are thrown and then combined together. The base of the second one becomes the top of the combined pot, which can be thrown and shaped by adding a little water.
The second thing Gil does is create extensive long flowing handles. These are all pulled from a wad of clay. He creates a fat carrot shape and then repeatedly pulls on the end with a well-wet hand. He is able to pull a coil over 4 feet long. This is quite a feat and takes considerable practice. I have problems just pulling a handle for a mug (smile). The coils are then cut, shaped, and attached to the pot. Again a blowtorch is used to quickly dry the handles so they can be placed into position without the use of supports.
Almost all his pieces are glazed using the same technique. He dips them in a dark black/brown glaze then he adds a splash of color around the top of yellow, green, red, blue, or white. The colored glaze has a tendency to sit on top of the darker glaze, which produces a very dynamic effect.
He makes a living purely from selling his artwork, which is quite a feat. He primarily sells direct from national art and craft shows across the US. He does have some gallery representation, but generally hawks his own pots.
He has had the fortune of selling some of his work to Paramount Studios, which has been used on the set of Star Trek Voyager. The futuristic effect of his work is a perfect complement to the space theme.
Click on the following link for some pictures from the workshop: http://www.garyrferguson.com/gilharrison.htm
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(c) Copyright 2005, Gary R. Ferguson