Monday, December 17, 2012

Birchbark Raku Vases

To create these "Ichibana" Raku vases my goal was to evoke a sense of birch bark not build a "fool the eye"  representation of a birch tree. I pressed thin slabs of clay onto and around a birch log I  collected from a downed tree. I pressed the clay carefully around sawed branches and other imperfections. I reversed the slab, pushing out the branch parts and slapped them around a cylinder. I did not want to disguise the fact that they were clay slabs so I left edges and torn ends. After bisque firing I used a liquid wax to paint anything I wanted black. That would be the branch parts and the little specks that are on natural birchbark. Glaze will not adhere to wax and those areas would turn black with smoke. I glazed the outside in a white crackle and the inside with a copper glaze.  After the reduction firing I got copper flashing along some edges, and coppery greens on the inside. It has an "abstract expressionist" sense of a realistic  artifact. Walking through the woods in the Adirondacks you see downed birches everywhere. The bark looks like this, torn, imperfect, ragged and beautiful.    The vases are from12 to 14in. tall


Robert Stark said...


Your birch Raku pieces are wonderful, very impressive!

ellen silberlicht said...

Robert Stark shared your blog with me.....glad he did!
Just be careful.....RAKU is a disease!

m.gaudreau said...

If Raku is a disease I don't want to be cured. Thanks for the comment!

Robert Stark said...

Want to trade one of those Raku vases for an oil? I think they're pretty special.