Petrus is an artist living in a clearing in the forest, near Daylesford, Victoria. He usually works in his studio but for the last few months Petrus has been working in the forest using it as his studio and gallery. He is exhibiting on a continuous basis.
The bowls are created in Petrus' Black Earth Studio on Bald Hill just outside Daylesford, Victoria.
The bowls are not glazed, but burnished. Petrus Spronk learnt the art of burnishing from the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. The Pueblo culture did not have the glazing technique and developed burnishing (polishing of the clay by rubbing it with a very smooth stone before the bowl is fired) to make the clay, to some extent, more non-porous.
After burnishing the bowl, the artist fires it in a wood fired kiln to a temperature of about 900-950 degrees C. In terms of ceramics this is relatively low temperature. Were the bowl to be fired to a higher temperature the burnish would be lost.
The combination of burnishing and exposing the bowl to an intense smoking cycle, creates a harder and more durable surface, however, in terms of glazed bowls it is soft and needs care with handling. The surface of this bowl was manipulated/adorned with a brush filled with smoke and flames, that, plus a little magic.
One consequence of the low-fired unglazed bowl is that it cannot be used to contain liquid.
Petrus Spronk did not create the bowl as a container, but rather is an object of contemplation, with the important aspect of the bowl and the empty space inside.
Through each burnished bowl the artist hopes to bring some quietness, stillness and meditativeness into the space where each is displayed.