Last night saw the start of York Open Studios and P and I were invited to a friend's opening. Ilona Sulikova makes large-scale coiled pots to die for - beautifully crafted, creatively decorated and bearing the glorious colours unique to raku firing.
Ilona honed her skills over years working alongside Somali and Sudanese women. I've been a fan ever since she embarked on her raku journey, and unbelievably the pots just get better and better - a real feast for the eyes in colour, pattern, texture and form.
Every pot is different, not only in its geometric shape and surface decoration, but also in its colour, which depends both on the glaze and the firing.
One of the really neat things I wanted to show you is how perfectly the patterns travel around the pots. They're just as beautiful viewed from top or bottom. Unfortunately, as you might expect, I couldn't get any shots of the bases but here are a few of the tops...
Another aspect of the exhibition I really enjoyed was that the walls were covered with pictures of the raku process. This added another dimension to the experience for me and Sue Brown's images were great. I really wanted to show them to you so I took a few pictures to give you a taste of the procedure. With apologies to Sue, they certainly don't do the originals justice - the lights in the room were reflecting too much added light onto them.
|Ilona pours sawdust into the flames over the pot to create smoke|
|Pot being hosed down after firing|
|The cooling process|
|Similar finished pot|
|Out of the kiln|
|Need a steady hand for this!!|
|Another beauty in the making|
It was a fabulous evening and great to see so many old friends there too. So if you live anywhere near York, then all I can say is get yourself down to the Holmfield Community Centre, Heslington (close to the university) where you can see all this and much more for yourself - you won't be disappointed!York Open Studios runs this weekend and next - April 4th, 5th & 6th and April 12th and 13th.
Be interested to know which are your favourites?