I majored in biology and never realized how much that knowledge would intersect with clay. I begin with a small closed form, add legs and head and let the form and my imagination go. Many animals have similarities: shoulders, hips, eyebrows, cheeks, etc. How these are defined in clay is dependent upon which animal I am sculpting. Since I do not use glaze, the effects achieved from fly ash and flashing are wonderfully random creating a naturally looking hide.
Glazes are used in raku firing. Many factors, chemical and environmental, reflect the outcome. I raku fire in my driveway and use dry leaves of mostly beech trees found in the wooded area around my studio in the reduction chamber.
“You never really know for sure how things will turn out” is a great life lesson from raku and wood firing!