~ Wild pieces inspired by wild places ~
Functional ceramics handmade by long distance hiker, resident dirtbag, and ceramicist - Carol Coyne or "Cheer." Her inspiration comes from the wild and remote places she's hiked through.
Inspired By Nature
Over 5,000 miles of hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail comes with a lot of ceramic inspiration! From the sunrises and sunsets, rivers, rock formations, endless stars, harsh weather, mountain ridgelines, and more.
The idea of Dirtbag Ceramics comes from the basics: Dirt. While Cheer is out on the trail for months at a time, she is constantly reminded of the clay she lovingly works with in her home studio. Out in the wilds, dirt is all over her clothes, gear, legs, face...everywhere. In the studio, she chooses clay that gives the same look and feel that she experienced out in nature. After the clay is chosen and properly prepared by weighing and wedging, Cheer throws the clay on the wheel to shape into functional pieces, or she pinches them - which is a form of handbuilding.
This ceramic decoration technique gives a piece more dimension and character - depending on the desired effect and inspiration behind the design. Some carvings currently showcased are roots (pictured), river rocks, sagebrush, and switchbacks. Carving involves pressing a carving tool into clay that is hard enough to hold shape but soft enough to easily carve (called the "leather-hard" stage).
Let's add some color! Glazing is one of Cheer's favorite parts of the ceramic process. Glaze is hand painted on to each piece to achieve certain effects - like drips and more intense color in certain places. Carefully placed layers achieve different unique effects that mirror colors in nature, like desert sunrises. Once the glaze is perfectly painted on, each piece goes into the kiln to be fired at 2,200 degrees! During the firing, painted glaze turns to beautifully colored glass and, once cooled, the ceramic process is complete.