Robert Harrison

Mission Clay Pipe Company Research Project – Part II

On my second week-long visit to the Mission Phoenix factory I was informed that 15”interior diameter freshly extruded pipe were not currently being made, but I could have a number of 28” interior diameter pipe to work with. Needless to say, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the vastly different scale of these pipe. Once the 8 x 10’ tall monolithic pipe with 3.5” thick walls were delivered to the artist studio, I was confronted with the mass of clay before me. A ton or more of freshly extruded clay in each pipe, these massive pipes were so much larger than the 15” diameter pipes from the previous visit.

  • 2017 – 2019
  • Phoenix, Arizona factory

The Phoenix factory had an established relationship with the Ceramics program at Arizona State University in Tempe. When periodic assistance is needed, students in the program are hired to come to the factory and assist artists. With the challenge of the enormous pipes in the studio, I came up with the idea of drilling numerous holes through the wet pipe. Clay pipe shards would then be made, drilled, dried, glazed and fired. Then the shards would be attached to the massive fired pipes with mechanical fasteners (steel bolts). The large pipe were wrapped in plastic and slowly dried for a months-long drying cycle.