Quebec ceramist Jose Drouin mainly uses Raku as a firing method. Raku is a firing technique that was developed in Japan for making the bowls used in the tea ceremony. With this technique, the incandescent pieces are removed from the kiln using tongs and placed in a straw-filled container. Cutting off the oxygen supply causes the glazes to shrink, thus creating unique and flamboyant colours. Pieces fired using this method remain porous; it is therefore not recommended to keep water in them for long periods. However, you may very well use them for drinking tea or for eating your favourite dish. Raku is recognizable by its dark colour and the smell of smoke that lingers on the piece for some time.
Jose also uses a high-temperature firing method, mainly for sculptures, her large amphoras and new pieces. These pieces are fired at a temperature of approximately 2,380 degrees Fahrenheit and are not porous.
My work consists of two interdependent parts. On the one hand, as a craftswoman, each day I wedge, throw, shape, glaze, trim and fire my pieces. On the other hand, underlying this daily work is a long quest nourished by the hope that I can create living objects in which other human beings can see themselves, living traces, and a familiar presence. My main sources of inspiration are forms evoking other cultures, as well as human and animal figures. I hope that the piece of my pottery you purchase will bring you enjoyment for a long time to come.
Raku is a centuries old firing technique developed by the Japanese. The pieces of pottery are fired outdoors in a kiln fuelled by wood or propane. The pieces are heated very quickly to the red-hot stage and while the glaze is still molten, they are pulled out of the kiln and into the air. The iridescent colours and/or crackle surfaces are a result of the chemical reaction of the glaze materials oxidizing when the posts are removed from the kiln. To stop the oxidation process and control the surface effects and colours, the pots are then placed in a pit or container, covered with combustible materials and sealed airtight with a lid, creating a reduction atmosphere. The reduction of oxygen stops the flaming and produces thick black smoke that permeates the clay body and produces the unusual, spontaneous surface effects.