Whilst Brunyfire’s passion for clay has always been deeply embedded, working with fire has until recently, been something of a chore – firing kilns was always a necessary tedium – something that had to be endured to enable a finished, fired outcome.
This has never been the case with Ben Richardson, who has always relished the use of fire in his climbing wood-fired kiln, in combination with local materials, to directly influence the shape and finish of much of his functional pottery.
Ben and Peta Richardson of Ridgeline Pottery + Accommodation hosted the most recent Slow Food Hobart event this afternoon at their bespoke built house and studio at Sandford.Ridgeline Pottery overlooks Pipe Clay Lagoon and Clifton Beach, from which Ben sources much of his clay and glaze materials…..……including the wattles from the property that he uses to fire his hill climbing kiln, and the marram grass gathered from the dunes below to wrap the pots up as part of the packing process that help create Ben’s ‘patterns of the fire’……….Ben is becoming well known for the ceramics he has been producing for a number of restaurants, in particular, his oxidised (fired in an electric kiln) range for Hobart’s garagistes……
Ben and garagistes share a philosophy of product (in relation to Ben’s materials) and produce (in terms of chef Luke Burges’s food choices) that are well matched. Both Ben, as a potter, and Luke Burgess, as the chef source their materials locally (and in Luke’s case, seasonally) to enhance the sense of terroir – or response to place to what they produce.
……..and retired pots.All of which bear the marks of fire – sometimes extreme……..………and sometimes gentle……..………as was the case when Slowfood came for a guided tour of the studio, and lunch. Slowfooders were spoilt for choice. Peta and daughter Mel had worked up a storm, with cousin Jed fielding the prepared pizzas into the oven and onto the table in quick succession. The pizzas ranged from a classic garlic and onion to chicken, potato, asparagus and lamb, all accompanied with a wide range of salads, all served in Ben’s thrown and wood-fired bowls.In the instance of the pots we all ate off, and the food that enhanced the pots, the alchemical magic that occurred in both, that changed the raw to the cooked – the primitive to the civilized……..……. is heat, and both time and temperature are the crucial factors in achieving this.Many thanks to Peta and Ben, Mel and Jed for a great feed!