SMOKEY GOODNESS On Lansdowne Campus

Raku is a Japanese word that can be translated as enjoyment, happiness, or comfort. In 1580, the potter Chijiro is thought to be the first to produce this form of ware. The Raku family continues making their pottery in Chijiro’s tradition; the current master is Raku Kichizaemon XV.

Raku Pottery is created with a specific ceramic firing process that uses both fire and smoke to create unique patterns and designs. The piece is first bisque fired, and then it is glazed and undergoes a raku firing process. The firing process requires a special raku kiln that is fueled by propane and reaches temperatures of about 1,850°F (about 982°C).

In order to complete the firing process, the pottery must remain in the kiln for approximately 30 minutes. It is then removed from the kiln using specially designed raku tongs. While the raku pottery piece is still hot and glowing, it is placed inside a metal can full of combustible materials. The heat emitted from the pottery causes these materials to catch on fire.

After the materials inside the metal can catch on fire, a lid is placed over the can and the pottery is sealed inside. The piece is capable of withstanding these high temperatures and the fire within the can because it is made from a special type of clay that is capable of withstanding thermal shock. Traditional pottery clays, on the other hand, would crack from the drastic temperature changes.

As the fire consumes the oxygen within the can, it also draws the oxygen out of the pottery and its glaze. This process is called post fire reduction It this stage that creates the unique look of raku pottery. The resulting patterns and colours are unpredictable, as they are created through the natural process of oxygen removal.


Faculty Brenda Petays, Mi-Lab Artist in Residence in Japan

The summer months in the Visual Arts department are a mix of curriculum meetings, equipment repairs and studio renovations but most important for faculty and technologists is professional development – a time for research, training and personal studio practice.


Faculty Brenda Petays teaches Drawing & Painting, 2D Foundations and Printmaking. She traveled to Fujikawguchiko, Japan to study Mokuhanga, the traditional woodblock printmaking method. In a 6 week residency Brenda learned Mokuhanga carving techniques, watercolor and gouache properties, conditions of washi papers and a variety of printing methods. Brenda will be teaching these techniques to Printmaking students starting in the winter term 2015.

a link to  the Mi-Lab basic training residency

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In addition to her printmaking studies Brenda visited Mt. Fuji-san, the Ghibli Museum, Sensōji Temple and Tokyo National Museum.

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A New place for art and conversation

Welcome to the Camosun College Visual Arts blog! This is a new space for us to showcase student art, faculty work, alumni shows, and all things visual arts that our community gets up to. Our fall launch of Art Is A Person is going to be an exciting new initiative that will reveal the artist within the art and the artistic process. Oftentimes in our consumption of art we forget there is a person behind the work and Art Is A Person is our attempt at keeping the artist front and centre in the minds of our community. Check out our section under Art Is A Person to see the exciting events planned for this fall and what our immensely talented young artists are doing in the community!