Mudslingers Are On Fire

Raku-fired pottery piece

Patti Jo Lewis

Glenda Neff, acclaimed expressive local artist, welcomed a group of SaddleBrooke Ranch potters to her studio to understand the art of Raku glazing. This ancient Japanese Raku technique dates back to the 16th century. The already bisque-fired pieces were glazed with Raku glaze, placed in a kiln, removed from the kiln within 30 minutes while still glowing red hot, placed in metal cans with combustible materials (sawdust and newspaper), then cooled with water-soaked towels placed over the cans. This technique starves the glaze of oxygen, which creates myriad colors with no certainty of the outcome. Any places without glaze will turn matte black as the oxygen is removed from the clay rather than the glaze. It was quite an exciting evening. (Recap courtesy of Michelle Madgar)

That’s not all we’ve been up to. More studio time, more classes, more colors, more instructional info, more, more, more. We’ve changed our Monday and Wednesday hours, which are now 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Our own potters (Claire Tiejte, Jules Price, Rebecca Hilchie, Madoka Knight, and Alex Anna) are stepping in with new classes for the members (pinch pot, coil building, flat slab vessel, wheel), which fill up immediately. By virtue of input and voting of the members, the Glaze Committee (Chair Sharon David) expanded the color palette. Claire Tiejte is developing “how to” videos for special techniques.

Think this is the club for you? Drop by and sign up for our next Introductory class, which has been streamlined to meet the needs of new potters. For $20, students first attend a 2-hour session on hand-building, followed later with a glaze intro session. You’ll be amazed how creative you are.

We’ve been busy as can be and still have the remainder of 2023 to look forward to. For more information, visit