When we invited Wally Asselberghs to present a workshop on Naked Raku, we could never have anticipated what a double treat we would end up getting. After an exchange of about 3 emails, Wally asked if we would be interested in also having Sue Morse co-present at the workshop, indicating that she could teach her ferric chloride techniques to the workshop participants. After looking at images of her work, we all agreed it would be a wonderful workshop bonus. Sue is one of those types of people that you meet and immediately feel like you’ve known forever. We still think of her and Wally as family. A dozen participants from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Texas enjoyed learning the multiple alternative raku techniques offered at this fabulous workshop.
Original Sue Morse and Wally Asselberghs Workshop Description:
Wally Asselberghs will journey to Lawrence from Belgium to lead an intense exploration of the theory and practice of “naked raku,” a technique he has specialized in since 1995. Participants will experience this raku-based process which uses sacrificial slip and glaze layers as catalysts to capture patterns and surface textures left behind by smoke and fire. Wally will present the basic naked raku approach, and also encourage participants to experiment with splashed and diluted glazes for more sophisticated effects.
Joining Wally will be Sue Morse, from Phoenix, AZ, described by Wally as his “partner in Clay, Life and Love.” Sue will simultaneously be presenting her own personal technique of Ferric Chloride in aluminum foil, which will also enable students to experiment with crossover techniques between Raku techniques.
In Naked Raku, the artist applies slip and glaze to their previously bisque-fired work, then fire in a standard raku kiln. Works will be reduced in a post-fire smoke chamber and allowed to cool. The cooling slip and glaze crack, allowing smoke to penetrate underneath creating shading, specks, and irregular crack patterns. The egg-shell layer of slip and glaze is peeled and scrubbed off, revealing the smoke effects bonded to the bare clay. This process, different from using a traditional white crackle glaze, yields infinitely more varied results ranging from bold lightning patterns to soft, subtle speckling…often on the same piece.
Sue Morse Bio
Sue Morse has a bachelor’s degree in studio arts for pottery and printmaking from Blackburn College, and an MBA in statistics from Roosevelt University. She has taught workshops in the United States and Europe.
Sue Morse Artist Statement
”When I was a small girl my friends and I would hike down to College Creek and spend hours making mud pots. And not that much has changed since then. Now I make all of my forms on the wheel and then alter the shapes and add appendages, lids or “spouts”. Most of my pieces are enclosed forms and I use non-traditional firing techniques on all of them, mostly Saggar and Naked Raku, sometimes Pit Firing or traditional Raku. My biggest inspiration comes from the organic forms in nature.”