Cath Sumner

My work has many influences and inspirations, including early Oriental ceramics and English Medieval pottery.
Most of my work is thrown and sometimes altered. Decoration pieces are Raku fired, which gives a patinated, lustrous surface.
I also produce a range of functional stoneware mugs and jugs, which have soft textured decoration created during the throwing process.
More recently I have started making tiles and plaques, inspired by fossils and some medieval pottery.


Raku ware originated in Japan where it was used in the traditional Tea Ceremony.
Raku is a technique in which already glazed biscuit ware is fired rapidly to about 1000 degrees C. The red hot pottery is removed from the kiln and either:

  1. Left to cool in the open air traditional method.
  2. Plunged into cool water to produce a ‘crackle’ glaze.
  3. Placed in combustible material (paper, leaves, sawdust) and covered – this reduces the oxygen in the glaze materials creating lustrous, patinated surfaces. This technique is an American 20th Century innovation.

Creating Raku ware is an experience in which the maker closely involved with every stage of production. Each piece is unique due to the unpredictable nature of the technique.


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