Raku means “enjoyment,” or “comport” and is a special type of Japanese pottery that’s traditionally used in tea ceremonies. The bowls are typically hand-shaped, porous and fired with lead glazes at low temperatures and removed red-hot to cool in the open air. Contemporary potters worldwide have modified their firing techniques to bring some incredibly unique new pieces with a ‘raku’ finish.
This month, the Sedona Arts Center is hosting the largest and most diverse raku ceramics exhibition that has been held in the United States in over 15 years. “Raku Ceramics: Origins, Impact and Contemporary Expression” takes place March 7–17, 2014 in the Special Exhibition Gallery at the Sedona Arts Center. Western raku artists developed their own unique processes in the 1950’s, whereby ceramics are removed from the kiln while red hot, treated to a smoke-and-flame reduction with combustible materials in an airtight chamber and then cooled quickly. This process allows nature to take over by simply leaving the pieces in the airtight container with no interruption.
Here at the arts center, I’ve been watching as box after box of shipments from all over the world are coming in for the exhibit that begins on March 7th. The exhibition includes artworks of historical significance from private collections and works from as far away as London and Israel as well as from contemporary raku artists in the continental United States. There’s much ‘buzz’ around the arts center over this unique exhibit and we’re all looking forward to seeing this exhibit take form!
Here’s the schedule:
“Raku Ceramics: Origins, Impact and Contemporary Expression” takes place March 7–17, 2014 in the Special Exhibition Gallery at the Sedona Arts Center.
On Wednesday, March 12, Jim Romberg will give a special gallery talk at 5:30 p.m. This talk is free and open to the public, though advance registration is strongly recommended. To reserve a spot, register online or by calling the Sedona Arts Center.
The Arts Center’s ceramics department will also host two workshops in conjunction with the exhibit. Jim Romberg and Patrick Crabb will teach a weekend raku workshop on March 8 and 9. Participation in this “New Forms, New Surfaces” workshop requires some previous ceramic experience. Workshop participants will glaze and fire their own work over the space of two days.
On Sunday, March 16, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., Dennis Ott and Jim Romberg will host a “Raku Firing and Japanese Tea Ceremony”; no previous ceramic experience is required. Each participant will choose and glaze a tea bowl, participate in the firing and then use their bowl in the Tea Ceremony conducted by Masumi Oshima. The bowls are theirs to keep.
You can register for these events through the Sedona Arts Center online at www.sedonaartscenter.org, by phone at 928-282-3809, or in person at the Arts Center on the corner of SR 89A and Art Barn Road in Uptown Sedona.”