When my parents sold their home, my brother and I went through all our things in the attic. He decided to give up the rock collection that had been so precious to him growing up. I saw this piece of coral and knew I had to make a beautiful piece to showcase the intricate nature of its form. This piece of coral, treasured by a little boy and saved for so many years, adds a sense of continuity to a vessel that will be the final resting place for a beloved pet.
Raku is an ancient technique of firing clay, the roots of which go back to 16th century Japan. Unlike other glaze firings where the kiln is slowly brought up to temperature and then allowed to cool slowly, raku is fired very quickly, from room temperature to 1750 and back in about an hour. When the kiln has reached the correct temperature, it is opened, the red-hot pieces are removed with long tongs, placed in a pit lined with sawdust, then covered with a metal container lined with straw or newspaper. The combustibles use up the oxygen in the container, producing beautiful metallic colors.The unglazed areas absorb carbon from the burning organic matter and turn black. If the metal container is lifted at the correct moment during cooling, oxygen is introduced to the environment and the glaze cools at a more rapid rate then the clay, creating a beautiful crackle pattern without the lustre. The crackle shows up well as the cracks absorb the carbon and turn black.