KATE SCHURICHT

 RAKU PROCESS

“Raku Firing breathes a distinctive life into the pots. The crackles form differently over each shape, finding their unique pathway to craze and delineate the surface of a sphere, box or jug.”

The Raku firing process captures the moment of creation in a dramatic and immediate way. Raku originates from the ancient Japanese approach to making pots for the tea ceremony. Glazed pieces are rapidly fired in a gas kiln to approximately 1000 degrees centigrade. After about an hour, the glaze starts to melt, and the kiln is opened. The pots are quickly removed using metal tongs and placed into metal dustbins where they are covered in sawdust to insulate them as they cool.

As the sawdust hits the surface of the pots, the heat, flames and smoke all work together in a fast-moving process. The wood burns into the unglazed ceramics, smoking the surface and delineating the glaze crackles in a range of unique patterns. Any unglazed areas can be blackened by the smoke or softly dappled with shades of grey.

Once the pots have cooled, they are carefully removed from the sawdust. Finding the pieces is like digging up something from the past. All the surfaces are charred black and need to be carefully scrubbed to reveal the glaze underneath. The attraction of the raku process is that no two pieces are ever the same. Like a fingerprint or the grain of a tree, the distinctive crackles are truly unique.

For information about one to one or small group workshops contact Kate on kate@kateschuricht.com

STONEWARE

I apply different layers of stoneware glazes to the pots, surrendering to the alchemy of the materials and embracing the unpredictability of this process.”

Kate’s stoneware pieces are glazed in a subtle palette of green, grey and white; poured into the interior of each piece and dipped on the exterior, often with contrasting colours. The glaze is applied in thin coats to allow speckles and bursts of colour to emerge from beneath the surface. When the glazes combine during firing, the colours create effects like water and rock.

Her distinctive range of Flow Lustre jugs are made with hand-stained semi porcelain clay. The interiors are glazed with a satin metallic lustre, giving a sharp defining edge to the matt clay surface, and a depth to the form.

The pieces can be fired up to three times in an electric kiln, with a glaze firing of between 1240 and 1260 degrees centigrade. At this temperature, the clay vitrifies and becomes watertight. Unglazed areas are hand polished to a soft, stone like sheen.