For 30 years I have explored, experimented, and questioned the wonders of Raku. I am starting to have a grasp on the process but am reluctant to say I know what I am doing as such a bold statement is sure to throw off one’s Karma. There are so many variables in the process it is difficult to duplicate any given result. I sometimes refer to it as Heart Break Pottery.
My work is heavily influenced by nature and most frequently by the ocean. I have spent a lifetime on the shores of the Salish Sea and it has provided me with much inspiration. My high School Art Teacher, William Calder, encouraged me when I was young and he was my mentor into university. To him I owe my teaching career as well as my art career. I will be forever grateful to him for his direction. Edward J. Hughes and Emily Carr are two of my favorite B.C. Artists. I try to learn something new each day as I continue to experiment with the infinite world of Raku.
“I am so happy to be part of the collection of talented artists at Aquamaris Art Gallery in Duncan.”
For Ed Oldfield, this is a homecoming as it was in Maple Bay and Cowichan Bay that he first fell in love with the ocean and it was at Cowichan High School that his interest in art was developed. Ed graduated from Cowichan High School in 1973 and studied art at the University of Victoria. He earned a teaching certificate followed by a M.Ed. in Educational Administration and started a successful 36 year teaching career in 3 school districts – Terrace, Port Alberni, and Powell River where he retired from teaching in 2014.
In 1989, after seeing a Raku pot created by Wayne Ngan of Hornby Island, Ed set about learning all he could about the Raku process.
Raku is process of glaze firing clay which was developed in Japan during the 16th century. It involves applying a ruku glaze to a bisqued piece of clay, heating it to the point the glaze liquefies, placing the red hot clay in a garbage can filled with combustibles, choking off the oxygen supply, and letting the clay piece cool in an oxygen free/reduced environment. Temperature clay is heated to, minerals in the glaze, type of combustible material used, speed with which oxygen is depleted, air temperature, and humidity are all factors in determining the final colour. Controlling all of these factors is near impossible, so a raku artist learns to live with the joys and disappointments of each firing. I refer the process as a “dance with fire” and I continue to enjoy the uniqueness of each dance.