Keith Kent

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Whilst studying ceramics at Hammersmith College of Art in the 1970s, I was introduced to raku and took part in some firings. Extracting shimmering red hot pots from the kiln was awe-inspiring then and has never ceased to be so. Now, having retired from the business world, I have the time and opportunity to get fully involved with raku, practise the techniques, develop the skills and experiment with new ideas. I make wheel-thrown forms, which being inherently strong are well-suited to withstand the severe thermal stresses involved in the raku firing process. I continue to be enthralled every time I unload pots from the red-hot kiln and transfer them to the post-firing reduction bins. By its very nature, raku creates a dramatic and direct contact between the ware, the flames, the fumes and the smoke of the two-stage firing process. My aim is for this to be reflected in my finished work. The challenge for me is to be sufficiently in control of events to produce consistency and quality, but not so much in control as to eliminate the creativity of the fire.