Mel Bolen is always experimenting with technique and form in order to breathe new life into his work. In more recent years, his work has exhibited a contemplative elegance with simple form and the wonderfully subtle effects of the salt fired kiln. The kiln is fired to white heat (2400 f) so the clay itself is just on the verge of melting. It is a volatile process, and Bolen says that working with it is a little like walking the edge of a razor blade. “It’s the best way to be. I found that firing the wood kiln and the salt kiln and to a lesser degree the reduction kiln… you’re rewarded with pieces on that edge. If you try to be safe or duplicate, you’re going to get a medium piece out of it. Where you’re rewarded is by pushing, stretching, loosing pieces: Yes, but getting those pieces that make it through to that other side.”
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