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ArtWalk presents raku pottery



Article Published: Oct. 21, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
ArtWalk presents raku pottery

Courtney Fall Tomchik's raku pottery is now available at ArtWalk in Boone.



ArtWalk hosts the unique raku pottery of Courtney Fall Tomchik.

With a selection of wall hung mirrors, earrings and pendants, people can accessorize their homes or outfits with Tomchik's creatively crafted ceramics.

"With all the dedication and detail put into every piece, viewers are bound to find one that speaks to their tastes," an ArtWalk spokesperson said.

Tomchik's process starts with many different textures and forms that are used to get varying impressions in the clay. The work is dried to a bone-dry state, meaning there is no coldness to the touch. It is then bisque fired to about 1,500 degrees.

During this phase Tomchik generally has an idea in mind of which direction each piece is headed. If there are to be additions added on later, this time in the process is when those will be decided and will make the piece truly unique. Tomchik will glaze each work with a variety of low fire glazes particular to the raku process.

The raku firing stage is when the magic happens. Each piece is placed in the kiln and brought up to temperature; anywhere from 1,850 to 2,100 degrees with a propane burner system.

Once the kiln has reached the desired temperature, the gas is shut off, Tomchik raises the lid, takes each piece out and places it in a garbage can with newspaper.

"This stage is so important to the outcome of the work, due to the rapid cooling from kiln to container," the spokesperson said. "It is absolutely essential that this step is executed in a quick manner."

When the piece is placed in the garbage can, it sets the combustibles on fire and cools quickly. The oxygen is taken away, and the smoke penetrates the clay and glaze, enhancing the range of colors and finishes. Each piece is left in the can for between 10 and 15 minutes to further cool before being taken out and placed in a bucket of water. The water phase stops the color process and sometimes creates flashes that are not visible until it is cooled completely.

Once cooled, the piece is cleaned with an abrasive cleaning agent to remove ash deposits. After a 24-hour drying period, each piece is then assembled, and final detail additions are completed. The additions are usually found pieces, manmade or handmade. Additions include local glass beads or other works in clay. Sometimes gold leaf will be added to special pieces to create more depth and drama.

"Each piece is unique and one of a kind," the spokesperson said.

ArtWalk is located at at 611 W. King St. in downtown Boone. Tomchik's works are located on the main level. ArtWalk is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.artwalkboone.com or call (828) 264-9998.



Gallery Times

Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of the Focus section of The Mountain Times, featuring short news items submitted by local galleries.

For more information or to make a submission, contact editor Frank Ruggiero at (frank@mountaintimes.com) or (828) 264-6397.

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