Sunday, June 27, 2010

Raku Party

Raku-yaki (楽焼), or Raku ware, is a type of Japanese pottery that is traditionally and primarily used in the Japanese tea ceremony in Japan, most often in the form of tea bowls. It is traditionally characterized by hand-molding of the clay as opposed to turning it on a potter's wheel, resulting in each piece being "one-of-a-kind"; low firing temperatures (resulting in a fairly porous body); lead glazes; and the removal of pieces from the kiln while still glowing hot. In the traditional Japanese firing process, the fired Raku piece is removed from the hot kiln and put directly into water or allowed to cool in the open air. Raku techniques have been adopted and modified by contemporary potters worldwide.

You might remember earlier this year, that the Art Center I am involved with had a fundraiser. For my part of giving, I auctioned off some jewelry pieces. Another Board Member (and ceramic instructor there) - Dallas Shoesmith - decided to have a Raku party at his home this summer. People who wanted to participate would donate a certain amount to the Art Center, and then at his party you would watch the Raku firing process and get to select a vessel to take home with you. It has been many months leading up to the party, which finally happened last night! It was so much fun!

Dal, and his wife Carol, have the most beautiful gardens. They had wonderful food and wine for the group to enjoy while we waited during the different intervals of the firing process. Dal is most known for the figures you see here in one area of his garden. The little pots they are holding are oil burning candles!
Gorgeous copper fountain.....
Dal fired a total of 8 pots while we were there, and here are the first trash bins ready for their pots. The trash bins are filled with shredded newspaper and lighter fluid. When the glowing red pot gets put into the bin, it catches fire. And at just the right moment, Dal knows when to put the lid on.
So cool.... I could sit and watch this all day long!
The first pot, now coming out of the trash bin. Look at those colors! Dal creates/mixes his own glazes, but the Raku process is very unknown - meaning, it's always a surprise to see what comes out!
The one he has in his hands right now, is the one I ended up choosing.
A little bit of water to really bring out the details.
And now for the second batch.

Dal formed all of the pots by hand, and I would describe his look as very rustic. Everyone in the group had a hard time choosing their pots, since each one is so different and beautiful. He did a lot of work on the inside too - reminds me of coral. It is so hard to capture how truly beautiful the colors are on camera - the pictures do not do it justice. This was so much fun, and the Art Center is truly blessed to have Dal as an instructor and Board Member.


Until We Bead Again, Beth Murr said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

What a great Raku Party. Nice pieces.
Thanks for sharing the pics.

SueBeads said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My daughter's school does this raku process - it's so cool! I love big raku pieces. Looks like a great time!

Recycled Wares said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I have been to one of his raku firing parties. It is so much fun, and very informative. What a talented artist and teacher. I sure do miss the pottery classes at the BC Art Center. If I didn't live in Texas, I would join the art center again.