Pottery tends to be a more communal, more social art than painting, and Raku is even more so. The entire firing process involves a team of people working together. One has to be quick and careful with the red hot pottery and cans of combustibles that soon to go ablaze. The pullers perform a tight choreography as they move about trying not to burn each other. The potters who man the cans have to be alert on when to open and close them. All this makes for a tight bond between the people doing Raku. Last night we did this dance for the last time. At least for the immediate future. I will definitely miss the class and all the people I got to know and work with. Especially our teacher and fire master. Our last night we did two firings and had a great pot luck dinner. My last three pots were fired and turned out reasonably well; the glazing and carving of landscape motifs mixed with the more unpredictable results of a Raku firing. I definitely want to pursue these possibilities sometime in the future. All in all I'm very happy with the pottery I've done over the past month, but I realize every thing can be developed much further. I hope it isn't too long before I'm back at the Raku kiln and I hope the teacher and students will be just as great.i
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I arrive early and start tearing up news paper for our soon to start firings. By 7:00 Laura and I are pulling pottery from the kiln. It was a large sweaty load. Soon we are putting the pots in the cooling water. I'm happy to see my masks and two of my pots are are a part of the firing, and they look fine. Jinny loads the kiln for the next firing, while we clean up our pots and do a little glazing. I try the horse hair and feather burn on a terra sig. bowl with mixed results. It's definitely something I need to try many more times to get the look I want.
Hurray! Several of my pots have been fired. My masks are done and ready to be glazed. The Samurai are dark and metallic, so I try a dark glaze combination with blank areas that will fire a mat black. I also glaze a vase. It is the first one I glaze with a landscape design. I use a lot of commercial glazes combined with studio glazes to get the look I want. Because of its complexity it's a much slower process. Looking forward to see how it looks.
I'm here early but not so much to do. No Raku firing today, too late in the term to start anything new. All the pieces I can glaze are waiting to be fired. There are couple of pots I want to put designs on. I'm using a watercolor I did for inspiration. I'm simplifying and abstracting the watercolor and carving a pattern on my pot. My other pieces are siting in the hot box drying up. Jinny reorganized the bisque shelf, adding a sign, so we can have our pottery fired fist. Before I leave I make sure all of my work is right there on the bisque shelf.
A fortunate bit of synchronicity, the Worcester and Boston Museum both have shows of Japanese tea ceremony ware. The tea caddies, water containers, and tea bowls are all here. Another coincident is they both have pieces by Bernard Leach and his Japanese associates. Mr. Leach is the first westerner to discuss and try Raku pottery and is considered the grandfather of the modern pottery movement.