In case you are interested in the workshop, here’s a brief description of the process.
Raku pottery originated in Japan in the early 16th century, created by descendants of the Raku family for the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. First seen in the U.S. in the early 1960’s. the raku process was embraced for its immediacy and simplicity.
Potters make and bisque fire pottery, glaze it, and fire it again in an outdoor kiln. As the kiln heats, the glazes come to a boil, then flatten as they become molten. At around 1800°, the kiln is opened and the glowing pots are removed and transferred to a container filled with combustible materials. In this transition, the pots are subjected to extreme thermal shock, which creates the characteristic crackle of the glazes.
When the hot pots ignite the flammable material, a lid is quickly put on the container, which shuts off the source of oxygen. This process “reduces” the pots in an oxygen-starved atmosphere that is rich in carbon. Any crackle or unglazed portions of the pot turn varying shades of gray or black, and the rich colors of the glazes are developed.
Raku is a fast-firing technique which brings clay, heat, and smoke together in serendipitous ways, making discovery as significant as invention. Spontaneous and unpredictable results require suspension of expectations! A good release!
“I appreciated the opportunity to complete a project from start to finish. I feel there is real value in seeing the project through to the firing. After the firing I was immediately inspired for my next project and was overwhelmed with ideas of what to do next. I learned that there is so much science behind mixing glazes, and often the mistakes aren’t revealed until the piece is fired.”
- Holly Curry Bono
“Nancy Ross expertly guided us through the raku process, addressing any
concerns and answering any questions we had, all the while allowing us the
freedom to explore our own creativity. The firing was hot and mesmerizing
with the appropriate level of danger. Opening the reduction cans to
discover what changes your glaze had undergone was like unwrapping a
present on Christmas morning. It was a fun and exciting weekend; I hope to
attend next year.”
I’m pleased to announce that a new store is carrying my work in Waynesboro, Virginia. There has definitely been a void in Waynesboro since the Artisans Center of Virginia closed. Mariah Amine Couture (http://www.mariahamine.com/) is located at 112 S. Wayne Ave, one building away from the Shenandoah Arts Center and specializes in quality handmade items made in the US. The pottery is mine.
A phone call from Susan Myers, an alumna of Mary Baldwin, initiated my participation in her punch bowl project. We decided I would design a whimsical punch bowl with Mary Baldwin in mind. The inspiration comes from the Mary Baldwin mascot, the fighting squirrel, and the abundant acorns which tantalize the campus squirrels all fall. The bowl is available from http://www.bowlsofart.com only.
End of February and I’m back in the studio again. Feels good to be working on some new projects, new designs, and long-awaited orders.
Taking a few days to recharge with good friends, to share ideas ranging from books to read to new teaching ideas is what Clay Camp is all about. This January I joined Nan Rothwell and Becky Garrity at Betsy Krome’s studio in Toano, Virginia for a winter version of this annual ritual. Four experienced potters and teachers have much to talk about, as you might imagine, but also enjoy cooking for each other and the lucky husband at the host studio. Thanks to you all and I look forward to our next retreat.
See this and other new work at Free Union Fine Craft Show this weekend. Plus I’m really excited to have Jan Russell’s fiber art and jewelry and Margie Shepherd’s quilts as new additions to the show. You will also find your favorite socks and more gorgeous yarns to knit even more gifts from Kid Hollow Farm. Megan LeBoutillier will have unique mixed media work in glass, fiber, and paper. Anne Scarpa McCauley finds ingenuous ways to weave that pesky honeysuckle vine into unique baskets. And her sister Maria will be sending some fabulous wood burning art. And speaking of wood, Jim Sprinkle turns bowls like none you have ever seen before – each one a work of art. Leather accesories come alive from the talented hands of Sharon Duvall.