A few years ago, as I was planning a wood firing, I began to think about how to vary my results on the floor of the kiln. That section has a tendency to be cool and bland. I started to play with putting ash on the pots, but getting the ash to stay in place while I carrying pots to kiln and then stacking them was tricky. It occurred to me if I pressed ash into the wet clay it would stay put. When I began to experiment, the process reminded me of making prints.
I began to dust small areas of sifted wood stove ash on my concrete floor, draw through them and then roll my wet slabs over the image. The ash then was fired in place and thus became an interesting element in my tool bag of ideas for our anagama.
As I have continued to experiment, I have found that pressing a contrasting raw clay into the wet surface was also useful.
For me, it is exciting to take my materials and process down to an elemental state. Using ash and raw clays as design elements without need for a recipe or weight--drawing materials fired in place--sends my imagination running.