“You give Raku workshops ?” asked the lady looking at my leaflet, “Would you give one in India ?”
“Yes” I said (as I say yes to most things) “I have worked in Botswana, Zambia, Johannesburg, Albania and so on, so why NOT India?!”
I was in Ruford helping Christine Gettings, and thought no more about it. Two months later I had an Email from Ange Peter to confirm that I would be willing to go. Emails passed backwards and forwards, not all good, but in the end I decided to go!
I arrived on the 6th of January after an overnight flight, met by a taxi at 5 am then a 3 hour drive to Avilina. There I was met by Ange and shown my ‘accommodation'; a net shed with curtains and mosquito net over a bed!! But it was hot…….so I slept really well (I was exhausted!)
After a little rest, I looked at the CLAY I was to work with. It was sludge with grog like bolders. A young man made cowpats of it and threw it on the cement walls. Later that day I made 10 tiles in the hope of using them as test tiles, didn’t happen, couldn’t get them through the bisque firing.
I run a Raku workshop one Saturday a month, with 6 students…I said I could take 10. What I got was 14……..plus 2 more for 5 days! 5 people had Never touched clay, 3 not for 20 years, 4 students, 1 wonderful Russian pro potter .. It was GREAT.
Over the next 8 days I made 120 pots and tiles ready for the Raku workshop. I had a little help to burnish. But there were things I was told would be in place where I was to work such as Kilns and gas…….which were not. Things were not made easy!
Ange Peter was running an Intensive Haiyu slipware work shop of her own so was only able to give me encouragement and goodfood.
- Day 1 mixing glazes, clay work. they made sari ladies to be Rakued on the 5th day. All went well
- Day 2 making kilns, slip resist. drawing in smoke
- Day 3 Everyone gave an explanation of how they had decorated their tiles the day before, this was realy good. Luster Raku
- Day 4 Ferric Chiloride, feathers and Horse hair
- Day 5 They glazed their own work which they had made on the first day. and PARTY
There is so much more to say about my month in India. I am trying to help the Indian potter build his own kiln to make a living fairly. The young girl in the photo will be coming over to work with me,( and may be YOU) for 3 months this summer. I have also been asked back and also asked to give a workshop in a university. Although, by far the best result of my trip is that all my students are now well able to Raku without me!