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Jospeh Bull is a young artist Potter who has spent the past five years travelling and working in various studio practises in Egypt and the UK. Being exposed to different clays minerals and approaches has given Jospeh an exposure to both fine art ceramics and studio pottery which is rooted in form and function. As his work develops the function is at the core of it, the form regardless of how irrational the abstraction becomes, still remains a vessel.
Recently establishing his first studio in Oxfordshire he produces wood fired porcelain and stoneware vessels in Oxford University’s anagama kiln in Wytham Woods. He uses mineral composition of tree ash and iron oxide to create his glazes. He is aided in the firing by director of the project Dr Robin Wilson of Keble College. They use anthropological methods of participatory observation to investigate creativity in wood fired contemporary-hybrid Japanese inspired ceramics. Wytham was chosen for the project because it provides the robust research environment required for the construction of the kilns, the firing process and the production of traditional material objects.
‘The way which I work with my ceramics is by glazing them with ashes from trees and firing them in Oxford University’s Anagama kiln project wood fired test kiln for prolonged 50hr firing. There are two fold processes to this: wood fired kilns produce natural ash deposits on the ceramics and as temperatures rise to 1300c the ash would melt and form a glass matrix. Also by starving the kiln of oxygen the fuel draws minerals and oxides from inside the clay body to the surface where they react with the mineral composition of the glaze that combine and act as prisms that filter and refract light.’
Anagama means ‘cave’ and the kiln was constructed to plans based on archaeological investigations of this ancient type of pottery kiln, brought to Japan from China in the fifth century. Each Tree accumulates specific minerals from within the earth and these metals are somewhat synonymous with the tree and remain in the by-product of the ash. Instead of using mined metal oxides to create his colours Joseph use’s wood ash with its trace minerals as prisms that refract light to create colours.