Visiting the West Beach Resort in Orcas Island, Washington State, USA, is quite an adventure in itself, but reaching Orcas Island Pottery, located up a hill, is more so. It has a sign along the way that reads ‘Faint Not. The Pottery is Near’! However, reaching it is certainly worth the effort, mainly because of the Forest Ceramics company.
Orcas Island Pottery houses the studios of Forest Ceramics that are owned by Sean Forrest Roberts and Valeri Aleksandrov. The latter is the master at hand-carved functional porcelain that is nature-inspired. His experiments with creating new patterns, textures, and forms led him to develop innovative techniques to create incredible porcelain pieces.
Aleksandrov has collaborated with his partner to experiment with marbling-colored slips in which colored liquids clays are mixed and poured to create the vast array of patterns. What’s unique is that the color is added to the porcelain itself through a technique called ‘slip casting’. Little wonder each piece of porcelain appears to be the work of a master craftsman.
The process of creating a porcelain piece involves making a plaster mold of the piece on the potting wheel and then pouring liquid clay into it and drying it. Afterward, it’s fired to a low temperature for imparting the glaze and then fired again at a high temperature that goes up to 2,300 degrees. The end result is unique porcelain pieces that mainly include cups, bowls, and vases.
Aleksandrov enjoys a following of around 80,000 viewers on Instagram alone.
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