This shiny "Green Raku Jar" is a piece in my "Reflections " show, currently exhibited at the Jerome Coop. Standing tall, about 14 inches with its lid, it is a wheel thrown pot. Slabs of clay are joined together in an abstract pattern for the handle to the top.The inside is glazed.
I like using this modern design form in one of the oldest and most traditional forms of ceramics.
Raku was first used by by Japanese potters back in the 1500s to make their ceremonial tea bowls. Firing the piece to about 1000 degrees, the pot was taken out of the kiln while red hot. It was allowed to cool in the air, or in a closed container with combustible materials, such as straw, paper or natural materials.Called reduction, this atmosphere will influence the final results of the glaze,often creating lovely metallic colors.In the old days lots of lead was used. We can't use that now, but oh did produce some lovely effects.
Not much has changed in this process. I still bundle up with care, covering my face, hair, arms, legs, and eyes. I reach into a immensely hot kiln with tongs to take out my piece. Then I thrust it into a covered trash can containing materials that catch fire, slam on the lid and hope I don't hear any popping sounds that means it has broken.That is success!
The wonderful thing about raku is the serendipitous quality of the results. I can do everything right, yet there is often that element of surprise with the results. I am pleased with this piece.