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ASHEVILLE MADE MAGAZINE | It’s A Trial By Fire — And That’s After The Kiln Does Its Work

Raku pottery is an ancient Japanese art form that requires a meticulous process. But the final step is pure chance, and for Steven Forbes-deSoule, that’s the joy. “It’s like being a kid at Christmas,” he says.

Pieces are rapidly heated in a small kiln to the optimal temperature of 1900-2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Then they’re removed and placed in a metal can with newspaper. “The paper catches fire immediately, and, after a few seconds, a lid is placed on the can extinguishing the flames and creating an oxygen-starved environment,” the potter explains. This method produces a variety of effects on the piece, and it’s never the same look twice.

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Write up from Venice Clay Artists

"Gazing at the free form patterns and natural colours of a raku pottery finish is like looking at the colourful atmosphere of a mysterious world. Steven Forbes deSoule raku pieces are no exception and present exotic vistas that invite wonderful intrigue. He introduces more green and blue hues, in addition to the typical earthy reds and orange raku colours, in the reduction process to enhance the colour diversity. He uses the raku standard of a steel rubbish bin for a reduction chamber, which I always view as a fantastic irony, relative to the glorious outcomes from raku firing.
Steven Forbes deSoule has been a successful raku pottery artist for over 37 years, creating unique, hand made vessels and sculptures, while finding endless ways to manipulate the oxygen, gases and glazes during the raku reduction technique, to achieve a myriad of attractive outcomes. His intricate firing process and use of his own glazes and underglazes, with multiple firings, leads to ‘one of a kind pieces’ displaying beautiful enriched colours and textures. “The one constant with my work throughout the years has been transformation. I find it fun and challenging to try new things, and I especially enjoy developing new glazes. I started firing exclusively using the raku process in 1982 and found the element of serendipity and surprise to be invigorating.”"

http://www.veniceclayartists.com/steven-forbes-desoule-raku-with-lush-hues/