Yes, raku firing is as immediate and exciting as it is cracked up to be. Hands-on intervention in the ceramic process, working directly in high heat, atmosphere and combustion to transform pieces on the spot (for us a parking lot next to a tennis court). The normal firing process of heating and cooling a closed kiln over a day and a half is not exciting. Raku is.
I had some doubts going in — not surprising to people who know me. My passion is the emotional content of form, and I did not want to end up with surfaces that would take my pieces off in some other direction. The spectacular unpredictability of raku can supply content on its own, but I want surface to help bring out the content of the form.
But control is an illusion anyway. So I made these two pieces and gave them up to the raku fire gods — more particularly putting them in the expert hands of David Flohr, who does raku firing workshops through the Art League in Old Town Alexandria, VA. We made some good decisions (clear crackle on one and naked raku for the other), and then we let the pieces become what they were going to be. And if pieces have integrity, they’ll reward your trust.