Lisa Skog is a ceramic artist creating raku and wood-fired pottery. handmade and sculptural ceramics, hamilton, ontario.Copyright © Lisa Skog Ceramic Art. All rights reserved.
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better."
-Samuel Beckett "Worstward Ho" 1983
Raku is a form of art pottery that originated in Japan in the 16th century. Over the last 50 years in the western world, the process has metamorphosed into a very different but also very exciting and beautiful process. Western raku includes a wide variety of techniques but basically involves taking a ‘hot pot from the kiln and doing something with it’. My technique involves rapidly heating the glazed bisque ware to approximately 1000°C. The hot pot is removed from the kiln, placed in a container of flammable materials and allowed to burn. A lid is placed on the container resulting in the depletion of the oxygen causing chemical reactions to occur within the glazes. Controlling the amount of oxygen that is allowed to re-enter the container causes the glaze to develop into the beautiful colours characteristic of western raku. This technique produces one of a kind results and the temperature shocks occurring during the process result in a high rate of losses due to breakage. Raku fired ware is porous and generally unsuited for functional use. It should be treated as a decorative art piece and as such should not be placed in the dishwasher or be exposed to direct sunlight or very high humidity for extended periods. Proper treatment will preserve the beauty of the glazes.