A graduate of Hereford College of Arts, and emerging artist, William Rolls, creates ceramic sculptures of dogs with such wonderful characters. Observation is the key to catching the right moment to show the key characteristics of the animal distilling the movement and mood. All of that is being captured in William’s hand-sculpted dogs.
Once the piece is complete and dry, it’s subjected to the first heat of a kiln. William then finishes his work by salt firing in the Welsh Borders. This involves careful packing of the kiln using wadding to ensure the hours of work he has spent creating are not ruined in an instant by the glaze sticking the piece to the kiln floor!
Salt firing works by introducing salt (science bit – sodium chloride) into the kiln firebox when it is at high temperature. The salt then vaporizes and that combines with silica in the clay surface. This process forms an extremely hard glaze.
William has also used saggar boxes to encase the pieces to protect them from direct flames and smoke. He includes organic matter such as seaweed inside the box which vaporizes in the heat. This produces unique results in each firing which are impossible to accurately replicate. So like every real dog, these sculptures share breed characteristics but will never be the same twice!
Williams latest canine creations are in The Craft Gallery’s first showcase from 01 November 2016 to 31 January 2017. Together with the work of seven other established or emerging contemporary artisans, featuring blown-glass, textiles, thrown pots, upholstery, ceramic sculpture, jewellery, mixed-media paintings and line drawings.