Japanese Handle

This small and delicate vase is housed in the ceramics collection at RAMM. It was made and donated by Bruce Chivers, a Devon-based ceramicist and an expert in the Raku firing method.

Raku, a pottery making process which originated in Japan, embraces Zen philosophy. Unlike other areas of ceramics, Raku celebrates the unpredictable patterns and changes which evolve as a result of  the firing process, of the handmade pots.

Raku vessels were originally intended for tea ceremonies.  This combined Buddhist ideals with the everyday, in this case with the procedures of making and serving tea.

Grey and white Japanese Handle vase

Nowadays Raku has been adopted by western potters as a firing method which allows exciting unpredictable surface effects to arise, through a very hands-on process. The vessel is removed from a hot kiln and plunged into organic materials. As these burn, they colour the surface of the pots with random, often ‘sooty’, organic patterns. Glazes which crackle as a result of the firing are also enjoyed in Raku and this effect can be seen on the surface of Bruce Chivers’ pot.

His porcelain vase, called ‘Japanese Handle’, is an abstracted form based on ‘Ikebana’ or flower arranging. One flower would grace the rim and taller stems would be supported by the handle. This handle is also a reflection of the Japanese gateway form which is seen at temples and shrines in Japan.

Bruce Chivers was born in Australia and has lived in Devon since 1986. He made this piece in 2015 in his studio in Dunsford, Devon

This content is viewable by members only. Login or sign up to get access.