Chris Hawkins has been throwing & firing pots for over 40 years. His workshop is set in 6 acres of woodland on the banks of the River Tamar. The Tamar Valley has a long mining history and the workshop itself stands close to one of these mines. Tin, copper and tungsten were once mined here and the whole valley is rich in minerals, some of which are used in Chris’s glaze.
Raku is rapidly fired to around 1,000° C, then taken from the kiln whilst still red hot and placed in a container of wood shavings and sawdust. These instantly combust and the flames inside the container consume the oxygen causing the clay and the glaze to react. This ‘reduction’ draws the metal in the glaze up to the surface and creates rich iridescent colours. It is also what gives that distinctive wood smoke smell which dissipates over time! The chance occurrence of raku means that no two pieces are alike.
Raku pots by Chris Hawkins were featured in the first series of BBC’S ‘Great Pottery Throwdown’. He is also featured in the newly published book ‘The New Age of Ceramics’ by Hannah Stouffer.