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Jim and Shirl Parmentier

"We work on our vessels as a team, both in design and in the making of the vessels."

Jim and Shirl Parmentier have been creating pottery together for 35 years. Working as a team, the two artists pass work back and forth, as well as creating pieces individually. They have found that the open studio space in which they work invites the flow of creativity. The artists' first stylistic concern is with form and proportion, which they create to fit the flow of the vessel. With form intact, they add surface alterations to conform to the shape. The ash glaze will flow into these carvings and crevasses. With this continuity of form, alteration, carving and fluid glazes, the vessel is complete.

All of the Parmentier's work is made using their own custom high-fire stoneware clay. The pieces are created using both extruded coils and slabs. Each piece is altered using various tools to get to its final shape, and, at the proper stage of drying, the surface is carved. When completely dry, the vessel is bisque-fired in an electric kiln. This is called its first firing so it can be handled during the glazing process.

After the bisque-firing the vessels are glazed with various ash glazes, either applied with dipping, pouring or spraying. Final firing is done in a gas car kiln that takes about 18 hours from start to finish. Cooling takes another 36 hours before slowly opening the kiln door. The glaze results with a gas kiln are always a true mystery and surprise.

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