Lockman Pottery – Salt fired
In my youth , I roamed the woods and fields, occasionally wading in a creek taking delight in squeezing clays I found on the banks.
Later, I was haunting museums in Europe, and being awed by the majestic beauty of the German, Austrian, Swiss and Italian Alps. The feelings evoked by those European experiences followed me as I worked in clay at Gaston College near my home in Dallas, North Carolina where I built a kiln and set-up my burgeoning pottery. My fascination with local clays continues to this day; I dig my clay on a hillside above the creek where I played as a boy.
Clay, slips and glazes are composed mostly of local materials found in Gaston and Lincoln counties.
After the clay has dried, a hammermill beats the clods to finer particles. The hammered clay and some kaolin is added to enough water in a modified cement mixer to produce a “souplike blend” that I pour through a 20-mesh house screen onto dewatering trays. In three to six weeks, drying thickens the blend into a workable clay which I pug and store in airtight refrigerators.
I used a traditional kick wheel the first 12 years and now a motorized wheel. While throwing pots I often brush on colored slips. The next day I apply handles or spouts, sign BL and stamp each pot. At the blackhard stage of drying I glaze all pots. One favorite glaze is composed of the granite tailings remaining from my drilled well; another includes N C red clay. After completing 200 to 300 pots, I load my 74 cubic foot sprung arch kiln fueled with #2 oil and wood.. I once - fire to cone 12, about 2400 degrees fahrenheit. Salt thrown into the kiln reacts with silica in the clay or slips to produce a glaze.
Nature creates beauty all around us fresh each day and I aspire to capture some of life’s beauty and freshness in my pots.
Salt tends to reveal clay at its rawest and often finest.
206 Old NC 277 Loop
Dallas, N C 28034
Website: Lockman Pottery
Imagine: Weathered from stone to clay in a few hundred million years.