Fifteen years ago I became obsessed with soaking objects in terra sigillata and black firing them. I created The Bears and The Black Books using this technique. The works raised questions about memory, transformation, petrification and mummification, and became a kind of manifesto for things to come.

PREPARING THE CLAY MIXTURE FOR STUFFING BEARS

Ingredients:
Clay body                         1.5kg dry material
Frit 4110                           1kg dry material
Terra sigillata                  1.5Lt liquid (see recipe below)
Pine wood shavings       500g pet shop quality
Suggested firing temp: 1050 –1100°C

Method:

1. Break clay into small chunks (about the size of a 10 cent coin) and dry out completely.

2. Place dry clay pieces in a container and add the terra sigillata mixture you prepared earlier and leave to slake for at least 12 hours. (see recipe below)

3. Wearing protective clothing, rubber gloves and a safety mask, gently mix wood shavings and frit into the slaked mixture.

4. The mixture should be thick with a consistency like sticky rice.

5. Rest the mixture for another 12 hours so the wood shavings can soak up the frit, clay and terra sigillata. Then mix well.

6. Test small samples of the mixture and fire to recommended temperatures. If the tests seem too brittle, add more frit or try firing to a slightly higher temperature.

7. After testing the mix you’re ready to experiment!


DISSECTION AND STUFFING BEARS

1. Remove all plastic and metal components from your bear.

2. Make an incision in your bear