Avril Cairncross Ceramics

love raku


I live in a rural part of Lancashire and work in my garden studio.

The pots are mostly thrown with a porcelain body, modified to withstand the thermal shock of the raku firing, and decorated with a technique known as ‘naked raku’, so-called because a resist slip is applied to the burnished biscuit-fired surface before glazing.  After firing and reducing in sawdust the hardened glaze cracks away like slender pieces of eggshell, leaving behind a silky white surface with smokey veins and dots.  Each firing is different, and every pot unique.

Sometimes the surface patterns are disappointing, heavy, unbalanced.  So they go in the bin or are occasionally re-glazed and fired again.  But then at other times you wash off the powdery surface of the still-warm pot and something meltingly beautiful appears, as a gift.  That’s what I love.  It’s the result of a partnership between the clay, the fire, the smoke, the conditions on the day and the potter getting out of the way.

The sources of inspiration are meditation and the practical study of philosophy; finding in the ordinary activities of life the connection which the wise have spoken about through the ages.

“Keep quiet.  Do your work in the world, but inwardly keep quiet.  Then all will come to you.  Do not rely on your work for realization.  It may profit others, but not you.  Your hope lies in keeping silent in your mind and quiet in your heart.”   Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj

I sell the pots I’m happy with so that I can make more and continue to refine the observation, the care, the balancing of fire and smoke and timing.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed the process of making.

Avril Cairncross

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