What is raku? Raku is a process of firing pottery wherein a red-hot piece is withdrawn from the kiln and placed in a container with combustible materials-paper, sawdust or similar. The red-hot piece of pottery sets the combustible materials on fire and when the container is closed and the fire uses up all the oxygen inside the container, it begins to withdraw whatever oxygen it can from the glaze and the pot itself. That process is what causes the color changes to the clay and the glaze producing the beautiful and dramtic color one sees on raku fired pieces.
One of the most consistently awesome presentations on graduation night at Guild School is the display of the students in Jon Almeda’s pottery class. Some of these people have never worked in clay before and yet within a week, they have learned how to use a wheel, thrown several pots and fired and glazed them in the raku process. Each student has on display, a collection of pots and vases in spectacular colors of which to be very proud. When some of the other class presentations include pieces yet to be assembled, it is an impressive display.
Jon Almeda is a multi-talented artist, a Fellow member of IGMA in recognition of his skillful work in miniature ceramics. If you’ve ever seen Jon at a show, you know it is impossible to walk past his display without noticing the striking work he has become well known for. Unique shapes with crisp detailing, his vases and bowls stand out with dramatic and colorful glazes. Jon excels equally as a teacher, always a smiling, friendly face about the campus, eager to share his love of ceramics. Check out his work on his website and at his etsy shop, or sign up for the class and learn how to make it yourself.