Andrew Van Assche
I have been a ceramist since the mid 1970’s, and have focused solely on slab-building to create my forms. My forms range from basic simple shapes to the more sculptural and are determined by considerations of function. For my surface decoration I take different approaches. I use patterning, minimalist figurative, or a more kinetic graphic with implied movement. In some designs I incorporate a combination of these approaches.
My inspirations are many and varied – music, stories, architecture, weaving – I settle on a combination of minimalist simplicity and a bit of intrigue. I am drawn to both the quiet and the engaging.
My pieces are slab-built with stoneware clay. The clay is first rolled out into flat sheets or ‘slabs’. As the slabs begin to dry and stiffen somewhat, I cut them into the desired sizes and join them together to form the piece. I dry the finished piece very slowly and then fire it in a low temperature ‘bisque’ firing.
Once bisqued, I decorate the pieces with clay slips – a mixture of powdered clay,metallic oxides, and water. I also use underglaze pencil and sgraffito. Sgraffito is the technique of using a needle tool to scratch through the slip to create a sharp line which is the color of the clay body. After completing the decoration, I fire the piece to cone 4 in an electric kiln.
I make and use two different clay bodies. One is vitreous and will hold water and the other is more porous and will not. I put a sticker – ‘for dry use’ – on all vase and bottle forms that will not hold water.
We have clocks, vases, tiles, lamps and small boxes at Salmon Falls Gallery.