Raku is still producing beautiful surfaces for me. And it is one of the ways I am trying to capture a new sensibility in my figures — gesture and movement that show an intrinsic quality of openness to human interaction. These pieces are a new series that I call Relationship, and I am pleased to preview it here.
These pictures are from a raku firing that I did with the very expert David Flohr last Saturday (11/8).
The first is a “naked” raku piece, as it is cooling down. The black coating still clinging to the shoulders is a firing slip that dries and cracks in the kiln. When the piece undergoes secondary reduction, its surface carbonizes under those cracks, yielding the web of black lines. The firing slip is then brushed off — which is what we were doing when I stepped back to take the picture — leaving only the now-craquelured bare clay. Hence the term “naked” raku (which has nothing to do with the nudity of the piece).
The next two pictures show two of three small torsos that we fired with another artist’s much larger piece. The pieces are nestled in the burned newspaper, which is what produced the secondary reduction. I wanted the torsos to carbonize completely, and the result is a deep black sheen that shows all of the surface articulation. I put firing slip in the depressions at the shoulders, leaving them a gray/white.
These torsos are my preview of Relationship. I tried to give each one a “reaching out” quality of relationship, and I was hoping they would create their own relationship space when grouped. I think they do. And it shifts and changes when they are rearranged. This is a very exciting exploration for me. When I have a body of this new work, I will put them on the site.