Many of my pots are made using the ‘naked raku’ process, so called because they do not have any glaze so the clay is naked. While the pot is still slightly damp it is burnished to a high shine and then bisque fired. When cool it is coated with a layer of slip (liquid clay) and then a layer of glaze and then re-fired. It is taken out of the kiln red hot and allowed to cool slightly which causes the glaze and slip layer to crackle so that when it is placed in the sawdust carbon is pulled in through the cracks and stains the clay black, the rest of the pot remains white. When cool the eggshell layer (slip and glaze) is chipped off to reveal the crackle pattern underneath. The pots are then finished with a micro-chrystalline wax.
I also use other associated bare clay techniques such as barrel firing, pit firing, horsehair raku, ferric chloride fuming and coating with terra sigillata.
Because raku is a low fire technique the pots are not completely waterproof so should not be used to hold water and as with prints and paintings they should be kept out of direct sunlight.
I first became interested in ceramics after watching black and white footage of Shoji Hamada and Bernard Leach wood firing a climbing kiln. Becoming involved with the Oxford Anagama project and having a pot fired in the kiln in Wytham Woods has rekindled my passion.
Raku is a type of low-firing pottery that was inspired by the traditional Japanese raku. Western style raku involves taking the pot out of the kiln whilst red hot and placing in a metal container full of a combustible material such as sawdust. The thermal shock of being exposed to the cold air causes the glaze to crackle and carbon from the burning sawdust is pulled into the cracks.