Grow – Meet the Maker with Robyn Saunders

Robyn Saunders ceramics

My love for ceramics began when my children were experimenting with clay in Secondary school. I really wanted to feel the joy that comes from taking a piece of clay and creating something that started off as a figment of my imagination. I started my journey by joining Dromana Potters group and taking weekly night classes, being tutored by some exceptional potters. This led to the setting up of my studio at home.

I work from my home studio at Baxter, on the Mornington Peninsula. My studio allows me to work on many projects at the one time including hand built slab forms and wheel thrown work. These works will sometimes resemble traditional ceramic form and when my whimsical potter personality takes over I produce some of my favourite pieces.

My love of the outdoors and nature gives me an endless supply of ideas for some of my “outside the box” pieces. It can be as simple as a fern frond from my backyard garden area to use in a “saggar firing” or a walk along an ocean beach where seaweed and shells can provide ideas and inspiration.

These ideas then transform into different types of firings from the smoke firing in the trusty old webber bbq, saggar firings in the gas kiln or the most satisfying firing I enjoy doing, raku firing.

All these different components lead to the happiness I get from creating a piece that started in my mind and ends up in the kiln and eventually in somebodys home.

The quick, intense firing that involves high heat then rapid cooling after exposure to the outside temperature following removal from the kiln can produce some exquisite pieces but also leads to many failures.

Most people seem to share the joy I get from these “outside the box” pieces. The most popular and, to me the most satisfying, are the “Raku” fired works which are produced using a small gas fired kiln.

My proudest moments have been where my pieces of work have been judged by my peers and awarded in exhibitions.

In 2008 I entered pieces in Dromana Potters Exhibition and received a Highly Commended Award.

In 2017 at the Derynia Art and Craft Exhibition, I received the Best in Glass/Ceramics Award.

 

Raku Fired Pottery

The Raku pottery technique has its origins in Japan. Raku potters were producing wares expressly for the Japanese tea ceremony. Raku, meaning “pleasure” or “enjoyment” was not introduced to the western world until the first half of the 20th Century.

Because of the traditional way raku is glazed and fired it is porous and not food safe.

As the word “raku” means – these pots are purely for pleasure.