Sylvia Mondloch, potter...

My interest in pottery started with classes at the university of wisconsin - West Bend, WI and I established my studio in Silver Creek, WI in 1978. I've always enjoyed working with a variety of techniques. Pieces are formed on a potter's wheel or by other hand forming methods and fired in a gas kiln. I'm currently experimenting with adding small amounts of sodium and wood in the latter part of the firing to influence the molten glazes and raw clay surfaces. Mark and I like to explore ideas together; the kiln always offers up new surprises and all the amazing earth processes provide inspiration.

Mark Mondloch, blacksmith...

After twenty years forging iron full-time, I am just starting to understand how much there is to know about moving metal. Clay and iron are both very pliable at certain stages: clay when wet, iron when hot. Many times Sylvia will suggest a form in iron which I think isn't possible to produce. After she explains how she would do it if it were clay, I can usually find a way to move the soft, hot iron to the desired shape. The original size and shape metal stock is often indistinguishable in a finished piece. I like that. Fired clay and forged iron are very hard and rigid. To have them fit and look good together is a joy and a challenge.

the pottery

Clay is prepared with a pugmill and by hand-wedging.

A potter's wheel is used to form the clay.

After drying a bit, the piece is trimmed and decorated.

Glazes are applied and the piece is fired in a gas fueled kiln to about 2300°f.

the iron

Iron bars are heated in the forge until red-hot and are then worked with a hammer and anvil.

Jigs are sometimes used to help form scrolls.

Finished pieces can be similar but always show the style of the individual blacksmith.