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Raku History

by Artist J.W.Gruber
Raku Perceptive Division Sculpture
Raku Moon Sculpture
Raku Sun Sculpture
Raku Hawk Mask Sculpture
Raku Decay Sculpture
Raku Mermaid Sculpture
Raku Turtle Sculpture
About Me
Raku Reclining Nude Sculpture
Raku Horse Sculpture 1
Raku Picasso Alien Sculpture
Raku Dragon Sculpture 4
of Use
Raku Abstract Nude Sculpture
Raku Horse Sculpture 2
Fine Art America
Raku Cloaked Desire Sculpture
Raku Cougar Sculpture
Raku Fragment Man Mask
Raku Chaos Sculpture
Raku Fragmentation Female Sculpture
Taku Dragon Sculpture D
Raku Mask Wonder
Raku Dragon Sculpture E
Raku Dragon Sculpture C
Raku Sculpture
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Artist J.W.Gruber .... Northfield, New Jersey......USA........

Raku Sculpture
Artist J.W.Gruber
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Raku as a sculptural technique is relatively new compared to the origin of it’s inception and even older when considering the birth of it’s inspiration. Originally the Raku technique was used to create tea sets for the Japanese tea ceremony. In the 16th century Raku tea service pottery was developed by Chojiro the son of pottery makers Ameya and his wife Teirin. Chojiro’s work so pleased the ruling territorial lord that he was given the title symbol “Raku” from the Chinese character Kanji meaning enjoyment, pleasure, contentment. The development of Raku pottery opened the door for the lower classes to express their spiritual qualities through the tea ceremony. Before Raku the tea ceremony was almost exclusive to the monks and upper classes. The lower classes could not afford the expensive productions of porcelains more typically used at that time. The Raku technique is that of a very fast kiln firing to a lower temperature maturity. When maturing temperature is reached (usually from 1750 to 1850 degrees F) the ware is removed immediately and cooled in water. The result is an economical, aesthetically pleasing, pottery that does not cause an offensive sound if the teapot should touch the tea bowl. This is due to the lower density of the fired clay and the glaze crackle that occurs when cooled quickly in water. With the discovery of tea in China and its subsequent introduction into Japan by Buddhist monks the use of tea grew from medicinal use into a set of guidelines from which proper appreciation of the tea would be attained. With Raku this came to mean something more. It evokes an appreciation of the natural order of things that are fresh and uncomplicated. Raku espouses the spontaneity of events, almost accidental, where the elegance and uniqueness of “imperfections” may be seen from a perspective of unpretentious beauty. A connection to the elemental transition of impermanence that contacts the primal source of human nature. In the 1920’s Bernard Leach, a well known English potter, learned the Raku technique while in Japan. When he returned to England he experimented with smoking the pottery in combustible materials thus introducing the style well known today. My work uses this smoked style to create a unique and spontaneous look to sculpture inspired by inner thought and peaceful reflection. There is a certain freedom that attracts me when working with Raku. Perhaps it is the spiritual foundation from which Raku originated or maybe it’s the necessary relinquishing of control in the firing. Or it may be just the simplicity of black and white symbolically represented. A Yin and Yang of its potential to express. Probably it is all these things. When a piece transcends the fire and smoke and is revealed for the first time I am thankful for being a part of its transformation from earth to clay to fire to water … art….to life……. With Raku clay I find myself seeking a release of a contrived expression and drawn to inner revelations. The journey to search for a true voice in 3 dimensions has its point of reference in my Raku sculpture work. My conversation is simple….here I am J.W. Gruber Artist

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