Katie Coston of Illyria Pottery has delivered a stunning new collection of Raku fired bowls and vessels. They’re utterly timeless, with classic shapes but with eye catching surfaces that shimmer with rainbow hues.
Katie has made her new collection using Raku, an ancient firing technique from Japan that dates back many centuries. Raku essentially works by adding combustible material to an outdoor kiln to create smoky lustres. The finish can be fine-tuned by adjusting the timing of the firing and the exposure to air that the molten hot pots receive, although the artist can never truly predict the result.
Katie explains: ‘The colour of raku pots is highly dependent upon how quickly they’re put into a bin full of combustible material. The hot pots immediately ignite their surroundings. If the pieces are placed in the bin and the lid is put on quickly, the pots will receive less air. This tends to create a reduction atmosphere resulting in reds, pinks, and oranges. If they go in a few seconds slower, receiving more air, the colour range will tend more toward blues, yellows, and greens.
‘Each side of a raku piece is different. These wonderful variations are intrinsic to this firing method, and no two pieces will ever be exactly alike.’
In another fascinating technique, Katie has produced a range of ‘Horsehair’ Raku pots, where strands of horsehair are placed quickly on the surface of a molten hot pot. The hair singes and curls rapidly, scorching a curled, random mark into the ceramic surface.
Katie creates many ceramics that are suitable for tableware, but these Raku pieces are for display only. Food and liquids would stain their unglazed surfaces, so these lovely works are best enjoyed for their beauty alone.
You can shop the new Illyria Pottery Raku collection on our web shop page, or pop in for a browse!