May Flowers

Today, I thought I would share a few images of new work that I made for an upcoming two-person show at Sorrel Sky Gallery in Durango, Colorado. They asked for a selection of botanical pieces to go with the landscape vases they already have. I included here a few words about Raku and how these are made.  If you’re going to be in or near Durango on May 11, stop by for the Gallery Walk reception (5-8 pm) and say hello!

Poppies, 9″h x 8″w, raku-fired stoneware

Wine Iris, 10.5″h x 5″w, raku-fired stoneware

I use underglaze (liquid clay + tint) to paint the images. I have to anticipate what the colors will look like when they’re fired because they’re very different from the pre-fired colors.

Purple & White Orchids, 11″h x 8″w, raku-fired stoneware

Blue Iris (detail), 9.5″h x 4.5″w, raku-fired stoneware

One of the appealing things about the raku firing method is the unpredictability–I can’t control how much of the painting burns out during the firing, or how dark/light/large/small the crackle patterns will be. The crackles in the clear glaze are created by the reduction (oxygen-deprived) environment in the kiln. I use tongs to pull the vases out of the kiln one at a time and place them in trash cans with sawdust.  Smoke from the burning sawdust stains the crackles black. Raku is very labor-intensive. You can read more about the history and see start-to-finish pictures in this post.

Apple Blossoms, 7.5″h x 7″w, raku-fired stoneware

19 thoughts on “May Flowers

    • Thanks, Len! I’ve been working my heiney off for this show (maybe you noticed today at the gym??) and also the Madrid wood firing around the same time. First time I’ve done it in 2 yrs and I want to have as much work as possible.

    • thank you, thank you! Oh, the screaming, that’s the toads. That’s my pain for 4-5 weeks every Spring. I suppose it’s a pain-pleasure thing, tho, because I’m somehow comforted by the fact that they re-appear every Spring, continuing themselves.

      • golly-me, that really is a pain-pleasure – me, I was experiencing a very strange invasion of space – it’s somewhat disturbing yet compelling – I thought it a combination of a screaming girl and a train in a tunnel. very interesting and provocative! I’m going to take a read of the post tomorrow when I have time…

        thank you so much for your amazing comments on my blog – I also feel honoured, especially that you had such a strong response and took the time to tell it with generosity. I’ve got a massive rush of excitement.

  1. ps. actually, I’m not sure if the ‘screaming’ sound I just asked about it from your blog…can’t seem to get away from it even when I leave your site…so apologies if it’s nothing to do with you…(feel free not to approve this comment!)

    • It is from my site. The previous post. It’s the toads. Damn them! You can turn them off at the bottom of the post, or just wait 2.57 minutes and the sound will expire.

    • Oh, my! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I didn’t realize that the toad sounds would start playing for EVERY post after that one… I’d better fix that.

    • Thank you, Dick! I feel very fortunate that other people enjoy what I love doing. Unfortunately, no shows in Arizona. I had work in a gallery in Scottsdale for a while but then the economy turned and they closed.

    • Hey, Guap! Yes, that’s part of what keeps it interesting for me, and challenging. Not only pushing the limits with shapes & size, but wondering what kind of gifts the fire will give me. It’s a “group effort” — me + the 4 elements.

    • :0 🙂 😦 = Alternating moods of getting ready for a show. Then a wood firing. Then a trip to the Southern part of the country. Woop woop!. Thanks for stopping by, Eleanor. I’m looking forward to getting lots finished in the next couple weeks, then drinking wine on your patio with you! Thru a straw!!

  2. Pingback: Weekend « Live Clay

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