Uta K Becker (Germany)
Light, space, balance 2021
Uta is a ceramist who produces unique pieces with the Japanese firing technique "raku" which has been in existence since the sixteenth century. Originally used for making tea bowls, translated, raku means "silent joy".
Opening a glowing furnace and taking out red hot forms with tongs without damaging them was, at first, inconceivable to Uta and triggered a deep fascination in the process. She worked with and discovered its limits, adding her own ideas and continues to be fascinated by this method of working.
It is the temperature shock on removal when the ceramics are red hot and then transferred into containers of sawdust where they start to burn and smoke, that causes the unpredictable and characteristic crackle patterning.
Naturally, this process produces only unique pieces. Apart from the technical aspect, raku also requires an attitude of mind. Working with the elements of nature demands resilience and imagination, complete attention and improvisation as well as gentleness and strength. The raku technique can offer the challenge to the maker of allowing or intervening.
In Uta's current ceramic work, experiences from various training flow into one another. Her apprenticeship as a carpenter, studying sculpture and her love of architecture shape and accompany the design in her work. This creates sophisticated, clearly designed vessel forms with surfaces across which the crackles of the raku can spread. The sketching and construction of vessels, the cutting of the different surfaces and the assembling and connecting is part of the creation process that Uta loves. This is technically demanding requiring skilful precision in order to contstruct her strong forms.
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