Old banana peels, egg shells, seaweed and leftover oyster shells from The Walrus and the Carpenter. They're just a few of the materials Shannon Wallack uses to create his pit fired masterpieces for ShanMan Clay Co.
"There's an element of resourcefulness and reusing materials from other industries," said Wallack
Wallack works out of the Inscape Building in International District. Most of his work is predominately wheel thrown until every edge is refined and perfectly smooth.
"A lot of objects I have been making have minimal amount of texture so it kind of just lets the pit firing process speak for itself."
Once Wallack is ready to fire his pieces, he heads to places like Golden Gardens Park, where he uses the bonfire pits. Before placing pieces in the fire, he layers all sorts of different materials around the pot, then wraps them in tinfoil.
"Everything I introduce into the foil will fume and create all these interesting textures," said Wallack.
Wallack never quite knows exactly how the pieces will turn out, which makes the waiting game exciting.
"I take notes and figure out what materials are working, why they're working, how are they working. Sometimes I don't have the answers though, of what happened. Each time doing a firing, I'm learning. There's totally some failures, but I think those are some of the riches moments."
But most of the time, the results are beautiful, fiery moments captured on clay.
"I think of it like a map of how the smoke traveled over the work."
Once his pit firing process is complete, Wallack is very intentional to leave the space in better shape than he discovered it. He says he feels a special connection to nature and aims to respect it through his work.
You can find ShanMan Clay Co. at several local artisan shops, and you can buy pieces online.
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