Jenny Carlin

Ceramic Artist

Raku has its origins in Japan around the 16th Century in the ceremonial tea bowls of the Zen Buddhist masters. Loosely translated it means pleasure, enjoyment, and contentment.

Making the work…

All my work is hand built using coils and then refined through carving and scraping. Once leather hard, I burnish the surface to give it a shiny exterior. Its then bisque fired and finally raku fired. This final stage is a baptism by fire, the pieces have to survive extreme and rapid heating and then cooling. They are removed from the kiln when bright red with heat and subjected to various smoking techniques. Rarely, if ever, do they all survive the firing process.

Techniques

Smoke resist/naked raku

Thick slip and a crackle glaze is applied to the surface before firing. When taken out of the raku kiln they are covered in sawdust. The glaze and slip cracks allowing smoke to seep in marking the surface. The glaze is then peeled off.

Horse hair

Horse hair is brushed against glowing hot pots straight from the kiln, leaving permanent carbon markings.

Copper matt

Copper carbonate is applied to the pot before raku firing. When taken out the kiln it is set alight. Colours ebb and flow and then are frozen by starving the surface of oxygen usually by putting a tin can over it. Getting good results is elusive as chance plays such a big part in whether the colours can be frozen on the surface at the optimal point.

Sawdust firing

The work is covered in sawdust in a metal container and set alight and left to burn usually for a couple of days. As the sawdust burns natural patterns of carbon are left on the pieces.