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what makes a tea bowl raku

updated tue 6 mar 12


Gregg Lindsley on mon 5 mar 12

Hello everyone

Many years ago I had the good fortune to work with Hal Riegger in
Northern California in the twilight of his life. He and a few friends in
the late 40's read about this firing technique the Japanese were doing
called Raku. So he began to experiment with it, using an electric kiln with
hilarious and life threatening results. He then began a serious study of
the subject, and determined for himself that Raku was strictly the making
of Japanese tea ware created and fired in the 'proper' way. Everything else
made in America was 'American Raku". He was quite adamant about it. And I
have always thought that it was an accurate description. Stripped of the
intuitive visceral cultural understanding the Japanese have of what a tea
bowl is, 'American Raku' made by Americans could only be just that. Nothing
wrong with that.
As to what to make and can I have that beautiful glaze please? , Mel is
right on, as usual. Today, we are faced with too many choices. Gone are the
days when what you produced was dictated by what was in the ground around
you. These days, you could be a potter if you lived on the North Pole,
since if you could afford it, someone would ship everything you needed to
you! I choose to work in white clay, cone 5 oxidation. And I make a very
good living selling pots and teaching privately, thank you. It was a
conscious choice. I have been working with Waterfall Brown for years, and I
have gotten it to do amazing things, even growing crystals! But I had to
work at it. (Ask me at NCECA to see a sample). -- Our challenge these
days, is to make pots that don't look like everyone elses. Quit looking at
magazines for inspiration and look into your own soul. Make what is 'you'.
You'll be surprised, it will sell.
See you in Seattle!

Gregg Lindsley
Earth and Fire Pottery
P.O. Box 402
Cobb, Ca., 95426
"Tomorrow is just your future yesterday"