Thursday, May 7, 2009

raku journal

I came accross a fascinating online journal of raku firings. The author is Akira Yoshida Futabasha, and the front page is an endearing, stumbling English introduction, translated verbatim, I assume, from Japanese. Here is one of my favorite lines: "Was the eye inhaled to the underskirt and was it stolen?" I wonder what that means?

As you scroll down the front page, you get to the links of all the firings, which are a treat. Akira uses a "portable cooking stove" as he calls it, and meticulously documents the process of firing sake cups and vases.

From what I can tell, Akira travels around and leads raku workshops with students and senior citizens, or, as he calls them, "grandmas". He also seems to use different "stoves", which are custom built (by him?). These stoves are art works in themselves. Almost performance art, with fire spewing forth.

I love the following series of sake cups, shown before and after the firing. The shapes are wonderful, the firing results are stunning.



I could not stop looking at all the different firings. The raku process is so unpredictable, some thing end up looking dull, and then others absolutely sing. What's fun about it is that it is so quick, taking at the most an hour. An electric kiln takes more than 24 hours.