Although the exact origins of the art are hazy, we do know that the word “raku” means “enjoyment.” Raku is indeed a vessel of form and beauty, as its porous walls make it impractical for the kitchen where most pottery serves its innate purpose. Unlike its earthen relatives, raku pottery is not tolerant to liquids, but it does offer a far greater purpose–beauty.
For its sheer beauty alone, we can appreciate raku. Varying from simple black or greyish-whites to a whole spectrum of metallic glazes, raku’s complex beauty is achieved through its multi-step firing process. While most pottery is merely fired in a kiln and slowly cooled, raku is removed while still glowing red hot. If it survives this first shock, the pottery is quickly placed in a reduction chamber amongst leaves, sawdust, and the like. The combustible content of this chamber immediately ignites and the pot receives its fiery kiss making for a truly unique piece of art.
You can see this artistry firsthand at Stange’s this month as we host the works of a local husband and wife duo, Noah and Jen Montgomery. Noah, a master potter, throws the pots and creates his own glazes in their studio in Saxeville, WI. Jen adds to the mastery by etching patterns and drawings on the greenware. Together they subject their works to the flame.
In addition to their fabulous raku, Noah and Jen have an outstanding stoneware line of pottery, clay jewelry, pet pottery, wedding pottery, hand-painted scarves as well as custom work. They travel to art shows, teach classes, and sell their work to galleries throughout the country and via their website. www.montgomeryraku.com
See these unique, affordable works of art firsthand at Stange’s this month, and you will be sure to enjoy those that survive their encounter with the flame.