Barbara Markello

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Welcome to my Raku world.

There’s something almost magical about Raku. Each step in the process from working with clay body characteristics, through to the final opening of the cooled can, has it’s inherent challenges, frustrations, realities, wish-full thinking, and yes, luck. But those times when every step turns out and the glazes sparkle their unique beauty…..well, that is magical.

My philosophy towards my work with Raku is very similar to my philosophy about life. Balance and harmony have always been important motivators in life. It reduces stress and allows the mind to be open to all of life’s challenges and accomplishments. With an open mind, one sees the possibilities and relishes the flexibility needed when life throws a kink into plans. This is much the same with working with Raku.

My pieces may begin with a certain idea, but as I work the clay, it’s the process of letting go of anticipations and too much thought that transforms an ordinary piece into something quite different and interesting. My pieces have no straight lines or specific shapes. They aren’t even finished when they go through the entire raku process. They are only finished when they have found balance and harmony in my mind. Several more steps are usually needed.

To add to this feeling of balance, my pieces are ‘pulled together’ by the addition of a specific polished stone (which was personally found from the Oregon coast and tumbled to a glorious shine) or a shell found also at the local beaches. They can be visually balanced through color, shape or both, but there has to be a specific reason for that stone or shell to be a part of the piece. There’s a certain logic when you think about a clay body being transformed into unique pieces and being matched up with a rock or shell. That’s where the feeling of balance comes in.¬†¬† Natural¬† and flowing.dsc_0086

I have recently included in some pieces the addition of wonderfully crafted jewelry I wanted to show for their artwork in addition to being able to be worn. This, in itself, creates another interesting challenge. But, the jewelry (like the polished rock or shell) needs to have a purpose for being included. It needs to create balance.

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So, the process of Raku may be frustrating and challenging, but it definitely teaches the soul to relax, let the process happen, see what interesting things are around the corner, but most of all, have fun and marvel at the magic. And always look for that special stone or shell to complete the story of the piece. My philosophy of life is much the same.

Thank-you for visiting my page and I hope you enjoy my pieces as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them.

Crane in the Setting Sun