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Raku Pottery by Steven Forbes de-Soule
While traditional Japanese raku pottery dates to the 16th century, American raku pottery dates to 1960 and is a unique and magical form of pottery. American raku pottery differentiates from Japanese raku ware in that it focuses primarily on post firing reduction. While both embody the spirit of spontaneity, removing the piece from the kiln and letting it smolder in a combustible makes American raku pottery more exciting and unpredictable. There is nothing quite like pulling a glowing hot vessel or sculpture from the kiln and placing it in a metal container that holds combustibles. As soon as you cover the container and smother the flames, a reduction chamber is created and it is at this moment that something incredible happens...
The most common combustibles used in creating raku pottery are organic materials such as leaves, straw, sawdust, or paper. The glazes are put onto the raku piece before it is fired. The metallics that I most often use in the glazes are copper, silver, cobalt and chrome. They melt in the firing and leave some spectacular results. I may also use the glazes to enhance the underlying design or texture of the piece. The colors of the glaze and the crackle are dependent on the amount of oxygen allowed during the raku firing and cooling. As oxygen is reduced, the reaction causes the oxygen to be pulled from the glazes, leaving behind a brilliant mix of beautifully colored raku pottery. The results are always serendipitous and each piece of pottery or sculpture I pull from the container is truly one of a kind! For a closer look at my raku process, please see my raku firing page.
Available Work & Studio
My online pottery store features all my available raku pottery for sale where you can see the complete range of my work including wall pieces, sculpture, vessels and ikebana. Please click on a category below for more information. New decorative art pieces pieces are added frequently and all sold pieces are marked as such. I invite you to come see my raku pottery in person, on display at Ariel Gallery in downtown Asheville, NC or you can contact me or Art Connections Tours for a tour of my studio in Weaverville, NC.