Virginia Dowe's dogs begin their lives as extruded hollow tubes of hand building clay, which she then manipulates into the forms she requires.
The texture of the clay often influences the finished piece, for example, if the clay is damp it will result in a laying relaxed dog, and if it is quite dry it can support a sitting or standing dog. Because of this, Virginia has learnt to be sympathetic to the clay's qualities. Once the dogs are dried and fired to 1160c, she smokes fire them. The dogs are placed in a small brick pit, along with plenty of combustibles and set alight to. The smoke from the fire stains the body of the clay, resulting in a very natural finish. 'Spotty' dogs are the result of masking areas with foil and raw clay. Each dog that she makes is a complete individual, as they are hand-made. Poses may be similar but due to the nature of their finishing, each dog has its very own unique character.
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