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Xaz, Raku by Amy Mealey

About the Artist

Amy Mealey was born and raised in Moab, Utah. She attended College at The University of Utah and Westminster College of Salt Lake City, where she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Biology/Art. She has been enjoying creating pottery for 18 years and professionally for 10 years. Four of those years were spent sharing studio space and apprenticing with Stan Roberts.

Amy has sold her works at The Salt Lake City Down Town Farmers' Market and various craft bazaars in Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. Her studio is currently located in Moab, Utah.

About the process: Raku

Some 500 years ago, a quick firing process developed in Japan as a result of a natural disaster. Korean artisans, hired to manufacture bar tiles for the roofs of an earthquake devastated city, found that the clay pieces could be placed directly into a hot kiln (1500 F) and removed as soon as the glaze has melted. This discovery not only enabled the craftsman to speed up their manufacture of the tiles but opened the door to an entirely new tradition among Japanese potters. The ancient Japanese tea ceremony was soon to encompass the making of vessels in the performance of the ritual. Thus, "Raku," a new tea ceremony was born.

We've borrowed the term as the name of the firing process. As the pot is removed from the kiln, it is immersed in leaves, pine needles, or paper to reduce the atmosphere around the glowing form, giving an iridescence to the glaze and forcing black smoke into thousands of cracks formed in the glaze as it cools.

There is, today, no more direct way of dealing with the process of pottery than raku. For this reason, the potter finds endless fascination with the technique.

My raku forms represent a merger of ancient form and technique with the most contemporary of ideas. Through the years, my works have taken many directions, but in retrospect, a path can be retraced to my beginnings with clay. These works developed through a process of elimination, casting off any excesses in decoration or design, yet incorporating everything I know about the clay.

My bead line represents years of studying ancient archetypes and icons. A similarity of image from culture to culture indicates to me a synchronicity of thought among all ancient cultures relating to myth. What better way to explore these ideas than through adornment to the body?