Arne Handley




What does process mean to me? Philosophically it is quite broad but in reality I work on a very narrow section of the ceramic spectrum. I have a bit of a problem with artists that pretend to be doing something really complicated: or ones that make their specific area overly complicated.

As a group, man has been sticking little bits of special kinds of dirt in little places he or she can make really hot, for a long time and doing it quite well thank you. The modern potters that expound on the intricacies of celadons and reduction reds and the need for specific temperature points, etc., etc., need to be reminded that the Chinese/Koreans/Lao have be turning out pretty fine celadons in very rustic kilns for anywhere from 1,000 – 1,500 years, depending on who is writing their doctorial thesis that week.

Technically speaking, I use a high temperature stoneware clay body with a little cobalt/copper (mostly) on it heated to a very high- temperature. It’s 6 or 7 times the temperature they use to cook the family roast on Sundays in a small box, about the size of the average fridge, for a day or so and then cooled for another day or so.

It ain’t rocket science because it can’t be. If nothing else, it’s because there weren’t rockets or that this stuff was done by peasants that worked by their senses who looked at the colour of the inside of the kiln at various stages and listened to the sound those kilns made. They were, however, artisans in the truest sense of the word. They had specific skills and used those skills; they fed their families with the stuff they traded and ate from the bowls they made and on occasion, late at night when they weren’t exhausted, put little drawings on some of them.

So what then is my process? It is the design of shapes that are pleasing and balanced, it is taking those shapes – drawn on the back of a Grade 8 math rubric – molding them mainly with my hands and with the occasional help of a potter’s wheel (because it makes round things quick), and taking them to a temperature that gives me the colour I want and makes sure the molecules of whatever chemical I am using won’t leech out into the Shreddies. And then maybe, which is the most important part of the process, is my shape actually gets used and on occasion and someone notices that the Shreddies taste better from my bowl than from the Tupperware one.