Raku is a method of firing pottery in which the piece is placed in
a heated kiln, removed when it is red hot and placed directly into
a container filled with combustible materials. These materials burn,
creating carbon that affects the clay and glazes in various ways.
The raku of Rick Foris is hand thrown and constructed solely by
him. He fires to approximately 1750 degrees and reduces heavily
in sawdust. Often he uses a white crackle glaze, though other glazes
may be employed with some pieces.
The rapid temperature change when the piece is removed from the
kiln causes the white crackle glaze to fracture on the surface.
The burning of the combustibles fills the cracks with carbon and
blackens that part of the pot.
Following the firing process, unglazed areas are painted with artist’s
acrylics using a dry brush technique. Some areas may be masked off
before more color is applied. When the mask is removed, the colors
underneath are revealed. These many layers of paint give the works
their rich depth and uniqueness.
“My work reflects many influences, though none consciously.
This maintains an element of mystery in both the shapes of the vessels
and the impact of the surface. My designs suggest other cultures
and languages but are purely of my own fabrication. This leaves
my work open to interpretation by the viewer, who sees what they
want to see rather than what I want them to see.
The combination of traditional raku firing with the brilliance
of acrylic paint melds a sense of timelessness with contemporary
Rick attained his Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin
at Stevens Point. He works out of a studio behind his home and is
an avid fly fisherman.