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Great Pottery Throw Down 2022 - Week 4

Raku has tremendous appeal, the fire, the immediacy, the potential for amazing effects, but rather like throwing, it takes time and practise to master the art. Good raku is made by people who have really dedicated themselves to that particular way of working and have a large degree of control over the outcome. They know their materials and their processes from years of experimentation. So when they have a go at raku on throw down, it is just that, and there is a lot of luck involved as to how good the results are.

Last year they did raku but they burnished the pots having applied a very fine slip (term sigilata) to them first. Then they used combustible such as feathers to sear patterns onto the surface of the hot pots.

This year it was all about white crackle and oxides.

It was apt to make a Japanese tea service, as raku of course comes from Japan, and there were some nice touches by some of the contestants: AJ's dimples in her cups expressing that Japanese tradition of seeing the hand of the maker in something handmade. There is a great love of things "wonky" in Japan, something we rather struggle with in the west. That is probably why Nick's ultra modern sleek lines didn't sit well with the raku technique. Also both he and Miles used cobalt which can be, and was in both cases such a brash colour.

The use of copper was more successful with both AJ and Lucinda getting some nice greens.

Personally I wasn't mad about any of the sets produced. I felt that Tom's, Lucinda's and Christine's worked the best and Christine was a little unlucky to miss out on potter of the week.

All good fun but I'm looking forward to next week when people get a chance to show off their actual skills in a proper hand building challenge.

The great pottery throwdown - AJ teapot
The great pottery throwdown - Christine teapot

The great pottery throwdown - Tom teapot