I get excited about every piece because the process has many variables and there is almost no control over the results.

Jim’s Process:

Thrown forms on the pottery wheel are trimmed and burnished with a light bulb. The pots are bisque fired to 1650°.

When cool, they are filled with water and the foot is flat lapped. When dry the areas to be black are masked out.

A sacrificial slip is poured on the bare clay surfaces and left to dry for a day. A sacrificial glaze is poured on the slip in three stages letting each previous layer harden – about twenty seconds between each layer.

The masking is removed and the pot is placed in a large food dehydrator for three hours to remove all moisture.

The naked Raku firing takes about five hours and forty minutes to reach 1440° when the pot is transferred to a reduction bucket lined with the Lake Oswego Review newspaper.

The paper ignites and burns up all available oxygen creating the black smoke that fills the chamber. As the pot cools in the bucket the slip/glaze layer cracks open, the smoke enters the cracks and makes a pattern on the burnished surface.

After thirty minutes the pot is removed from the bucket, any remaining slip/glaze is removed. The pot goes back in a bucket of water and the surface is scrubbed clean. The pot goes back in the dehydrator and when dry the surface gets a layer of Johnson paste wax.