Raku Rodeo Redux at FHSU features American master of ancient ceramic firing process

Space is still available in the second raku glazing and firing workshop, Raku Rodeo Redux, at the Fort Hays State University ceramics lab in Rarick Hall, room 123, on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21.

"The workshop is open to the public, but visitors are limited to the first 15 who register," said Linda Ganstrom, professor of art. "The cost of registration is $100. It is free to FHSU students, but I need them to register so I know how many will attend."

The featured artist is Jim Romberg, an internationally known raku artist who studied with Paul Soldner. Soldner was the featured artist at the original raku workshop, Raku Rodeo, in April 2004.

Romberg recently organized an international raku symposium and curated an international raku exhibition that was shown at the National Council on the Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in Portland, Ore., and the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, Calif., and is now at Arizona State University, Tempe. He has produced a video and DVD about raku glazing.

"My copy is from 1990," Ganstrom said, "so Jim has been an expert at raku glazing for a while."

Raku is a low-fire technique where the ceramic pieces are pulled red-hot out of the kiln, while the glaze is still molten, said Ganstrom. The pieces are then smoked in something combustible, such as newspaper or sawdust, transforming the color of the clay and the glaze. In traditional ceramics, the pieces are heated and then cooled before being taken from the kiln.

"We will be firing trash can kilns fueled by propane burners, natural gas kilns made of converted electric kilns and electric kilns," said Ganstrom.

The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Participants may bring five bisque-fired works to glaze and raku fire. The size of each piece is limited to less than 12 inches.

Ganstrom said the morning sessions will primarily be occupied in glazing. Firing will probably be late morning through early afternoon, she said.

Romberg, "a true American master," said Ganstrom, earned his bachelor of arts degree in ancient and medieval history from Pomona College, Claremont, Calif., and his master of fine arts from Claremont Graduate School, Claremont. His work is in galleries and collections across the United States and in France.

To register, e-mail Ganstrom at lganstro@fhsu.edu or call (785) 628-4273.

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