Jil Franke received a BS in Art Education from Mankato State University and has taught art at Breck School in Minneapolis since 1984. Her work is shown in galleries across the country and has been included in exhibitions in Taipei, Taiwan and Australia. She has been featured in “Ceramics Monthly," “Clay Times,” and the books “500 Cups” and “Tableware In Clay From Studio And Workshop.” She wood fires with Linda Christianson and Kirk Lyttle in the St. Croix River Valley.
Using slabs of stoneware clay, I hand build each piece. I then decorate the work using wax resist to apply patterns and surface designs. I like the natural textures and subtle variations found on each piece after the firing. The colors achieved are the direct result of the fire playing on the pots. Most of the interiors are glazed. Patterns are created using different kinds of slip on the surface of the vessels. Additional spots and textures are the results of ash or salt deposits. The sheen on some of the surfaces is the result of the salt that is added towards the end of the firing when the temperature in the kiln was between Cone 7 - 10.
I grew up on a farm in Minnesota and I am influenced by oil cans, funnels, grain bins, farm implements and objects found in this rural environment. I like chopping wood, wadding the pots, bricking up the door and stoking the fire. Wood firing can be full of surprises. I enjoy the unpredictability and the unexpected when firing my work in a wood fired kiln.