Wood-fire Raku Pottery

It’s so heartwarming to me that my heart warms when I think of the whole process of creating wood-fired pottery. In addition, I’ve tasked myself with doing some RAKU pottery, mainly because of the mystery of the results, experience from a recent alternate-firing class at Clayscapes Pottery, but also because a cool friend gave me some horsehair so I could do some Horsehair pottery!


Horsehair Pottery Inspirations


It’s 2020 and life threw me some lemons, so I’ve been making lemonade but my mind daydreams often of making pottery.

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Raku Pottery

The first few months of this year has been focused on PREPARING to do a RAKU session – figuring out how many pieces to make to maximize the my first full raku session (2 kiln firings), then creating, burnishing, bisquing, etc. During this time doing research on the RAKU process and options – what materials to purchase (tongs, gloves, sand, turnstyle, glazes, etc), what glaze options for non-horsehair pieces, getting feathers, etc. During this time also thinking of learning enough to try doing my own RAKU with a DIY kiln or outright purchase of a RAKU kiln. Time will tell.


Wood-fired Pottery Musing

The next phase of my daydreaming is creating pieces for this year’s woodfiring! I love doing mugs and lidded jars for this. 30 pieces is a goal, 40 pieces is a bonus, and 50 pieces would be a hoot!

  • Nice web posting regarding the wood-fire process, the basics, the job duties, the spirit of, etc: Monroe Clay Works

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So while I drink lemonade from life’s lemons I allow myself to giggle inside like a little kid, at the thoughts of doing these 2 kiln firings: RAKU and Woodfire.

Right now I won’t over analyze why I have giggle-ness, I’m just allowing myself to enjoy it.


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Horsehair Raku Pottery #Appreciation visit @Oneidasharkpottery

Personal Relationship with the Matter World

I heard these words, “Personal Relationship with the Matter World” from a recent YouTube video from Linda Moulton Howe (conversation at 39 mins 14 secs) and it resonated with me right then, right there. I felt a harmonious connection with those words and our recent Wood-firing event – – because creating pottery with a wood-fired kiln process is really, as artist, instructor, and amazing soul Wes Weiss recently said, it’s a “Labor of Love“.

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Here are some photos from the 2018 wood-firing May 18-May 20.

Lid

noun

1.

a removable or hinged cover for closing the opening, usually at the top, of a pot, jar, trunk, etc.; a movable cover.

 

Cups, mugs, jar, teapots, vases, boxes – oh my! Put a lid on it LOL

 

My master teacher Millie St. John directed us to focus on lids this semester at Clayscapes Pottery. There are myriad types of lids to play with, to create, to use – all based on one’s intent.  I’ll show pics of lids I made, and hopefully lids other students made this year. In the mean time here is a series of photos of Millie making a lid.

1.  In addition to enjoying learning about and making different types of lids I also thought I’d create pieces for the upcoming wood-firing.  One rule I forgot was that for wood-fired pieces, the lid should extend beyond the lip.  Perhaps like these (photos courtesy of The Spruce):

When it was time for wood-firing I acknowledged the error of my ways several times… a lesson learned.

 

2. The other thing I was interested in trying was combining my finished pieces with a crystal or stone. Here are the wood-fired finished pieces that were fashioned with a crystal or stone fully with mindfulness and sage.

hand-crafted pottery with crystals and stones

Mindfulness & Heart Intent -OneidaShark Pottery

Wood Fired Fun

This year’s wood firing fun has concluded! What a ride it’s been.  I plan to docu package everything.  In the meantime here are some snapshots of today’s unloading of the Kiln. 

The Mug of Life Sojourns

The adventures of the Mug of Life reached a milestone at the end of 2016. I gifted it to my brother on his 54th year, at a birthday celebration that included old and new friends, and many family members. Of course after any level of gifting there’s always the chance that a gift can go quietly to the shelf, hardly ever to be touched again; so for this event I felt the need to communicate a little background of the hand-crafted piece before any time flowed elsewhere.

 

Here is a more complete storyline of the Mug of Life:

Mother Earth created clay through eons. At some point nearer this date a portion of the clay came through the hands of a gatherer, a processor, a seller and a buyer.

In the year 2016 the clay was picked up by my hands and formed on a Potter’s Wheel to become a mug.

The mug was created by me, as with all of my pieces, with the senses of Love. Even if simply the word LOVE was a thought in it’s creation, or if several forms of Love’s facets were expressed or experienced through to it’s recent milestone, the resonation of LOVE was echoed through its journeys.

An opportunity to revel in life’s dynamics came early in the mug’s existence when while trimming the clay I accidentally spun the Potter’s Wheel too quickly. This resulted in an altered mug. I looked upon the altered mug with a fresh perspective and relished the chance to ‘just go with it’. Soon enough a handle with a button thumb-rest was fashioned to the mug and then rested. It rested right through to the time of bisquing.

I knew the mug was created with the chance of being fired in a wood kiln. Anything fired in a wood kiln can produce some very cool results – and the mystery of the interplay of the elements is a huge draw. While the elements are known: the clay, the wood, the fire, the glaze if any, the wadding, the temperature, the duration, the ash, and the cooling – what is a big variable is the location of the piece in the kiln in relation to those elements.  It’s all so very very cool to see how the pieces come out.

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So before this Mug of Life came out of the wood-fired kiln, I knew there was a chance that the mug would have characteristics that may or may not be pleasing to the eye.

 

But that was okay. That’s life. Accepting what may or may not happen, is probably one of the largest life lessons one can hope to learn. It is what it is.

The mug came home with me. As part of my typical process, I took the mug to my 9 to 5 to try it out. I test the handle comfortability, the weight, the balance, the handling, the drinkability of coffee. I tried out the mug over several weeks and learned more about it than I’ve would have hoped or expected.  While the outside of the mug didn’t have smooth lines, curves or symmetry, it definitely had character in all of its senses.

When my brother’s birthday arrived I knew this mug was going to be his. Perhaps it was created to be his, from the get-go. That’s kinda cool to think about.

As I told my brother at his birthday party, while the mug may have dings, bumps, and “character”, its what he puts inside that counts.

That cute little mug, the Mug of Life, continues to teach me that even though life has ups and downs, ins and outs, and provides us with character through it all, ultimately its what we put inside (inside our heart, mind, body and soul) that counts – for our own soul growth and development.  So thank you little mug. Thank you for sharing your love and life, with my brother.  Amen.

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The “Mug of Life” Birthday Present to my Brother, December 2016

Christmas Wishes

A very good family friend loves soup.

I thought I’d design some bowls with a Ukrainian Easter Egg inspired theme.  After researching the meaning of the symbols I realized that maybe less is more? So I focused on good health (wheat, pine needles, grapes), Christ (rose star, fish, fishing nets), and spiritual growth/prayer (ladder), and everlasting life (wave/curls). I even included stars.  Hopefully these bowls turn out well, as the intent of the decorations are my Christmas Wishes for my friend and for everyone.

Merry Christmas!

The bowls pictured have the designs in black, red, and yellow underglaze, all covered in Crystal Clear glaze. They should be ready in time for a holiday delivery. I’ll post the resulting photos once they come out of the kiln.

The bowls came out in time for a Christmas delivery! Two bowls were chosen: the cross of red in center (top left) and the cross of yellow in center (bottom)

I researched the symbols used on Ukrainian Easter Eggs and settled on just a handful that resonated (and that I could try my hand at). One of the resources used was a lovely find, “Pysanky Symbols“: http://bookczuk.blogspot.com/2015/02/2015-version-of-pysanky-symbols-chart.html, created by Amy Romanczuk. According to the blogspot, “Amy Romanczuk is an artist and retired pediatric nurse in Charleston, SC. She is self-taught pysanky writer of Ukrainian heritage. Several of her original design pysanky were accepted into the collection of Museum of Ukrainian Decorative Folk Arts in Kyiv, as representational from artists outside Ukraine.”

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