Liz Brownrigg ~ a.k.a. Gypsy Potter is currently based in Sudbury Ontario.
Liz's primary medium of choice is working with Clay; Mother Earth is her biggest inspiration.
Some of Liz's biggest Artistic Achievements to date have been Accepting 3 International Awards, showing her work on TV, in Movies, and several International Magazines.
While Liz has been dabbling in the Arts since a very young age, she began her career in Clay just over 15 years ago. In Liz's words "I found myself in Clay".
I have always dabbled in the arts, using many different mediums, such as acrylics, water colors and pastels; however, once I began using Clay I found the perfect artistic expression for me.
Mother Nature is my primary Inspiration; she has provided me with an incredible supply of clay, it is such a forgiving and yet a temperamental medium that pushes me, as an artist. Clay allows me to create various designs, textures, carve, or even add multiple layers into the design.
The origin of horse hair pottery is not known for sure but there is a story of a Native American Pueblo women that accidentally created the technique. As she was removing clay pots from her kiln the wind blew her hair and it came into contact with the hot pot. The hair created a pattern on the pot. This intrigued the women and from then on she tried using other materials such as straw, feathers and horse hair. The horse hair created the most dramatic patterns and thus horse hair pottery was born.
Another story tells of Native Americans creating horse hair pottery as a way to honor and immortalize some of their greatest horses.
Regardless of it’s origin, every piece of horse hair pottery is a unique piece of artwork that can never be replicated.
It was around the 16th century in Japan that RAKU (pronunciation rakou) took its roots, from the meeting of a tea master and a potter.
RAKU is distinguished by its rather brutal cooking method. Indeed, when the pieces have reached a temperature close to and sometimes just above 1000 degrees, they are removed while red-hot, then smoked in natural inflammable materials before being cooled suddenly in water.
The thermal shock causes a crackling unique and characteristic of the RAKU, the smoking (carbon) will penetrate these cracks and cause the earth to darken. After cooling, the parts are cleaned with an abrasive product to remove all residues of soot and ash.
If, in Japan, the RAKU was perpetuated during 15 generations of potters by remaining faithful to its tradition, the technique itself, in contact with the Western potters widened with the forms, while respecting this philosophy of ZEN.