Artist unloading a Naked Raku with Belgium artist, Wally Asselberghs. Spring of 2010 in Tucson, AZ.
“My grandfather would reach up and unscrew jar after jar, placing small weights and various movements on the table and with specialized tools he would begin to put them together within the workings of the clock. I was amazed at how many of these little pieces fit so intricately together to create the simple movement of the hands and pendulum, all the while the space was filled with the rhythmic sounds of dozens of these clocks pendulums lobbing back and forth in synch with the ticking of the hands on each face. These vivid memories are intertwined in my work.
My raku ceramic sculpture is created from many pieces and each has a relationship to the other in order to complete the whole. Raku can be broken down into it’s own components; the elements, earth, fire, water, and air and each are considered for their function, like the parts of the clock, they must work together. In working with bare surface techniques combined with raku, I attempt to achieve an atmospheric quality, which is a balance of the reflection and absorption of light.”
Naked Raku is a bare surface technique that is achievable by applying a sacrificial slip & top coat to the ceramic form. To view this unique firing process, please click on the button below.
Dawn Renee has been a professional Raku ceramic artist since 1998. She counts among her artistic influences the abstract expressionism of Louise Nevelson’s monochromatic wooden compositions and the post-minimalist sculptures of Eva Hesse. Dawn’s earlier work tended to focus on surface and texture, with the constituent forms working within the constraints of shallower dimensions. After learning the technique of “naked raku” from Wally Asselberghs, she found herself thinking about forms in greater dimensions: in curves and swells that rise break from the surface while articulating the flow of the larger whole. Through a great deal of trial and error she adapted the glazing recipes she learned from Asselberghs to use locally available ingredients, and developed her own technique for integrating naked raku with traditional raku, becoming one of perhaps a dozen artists in the world currently using both techniques simultaneously in individual pieces. The resultant play of absorption and refraction—of warm bare surfaces curling against and through shimmers of light and color—give her sculptures a quality that is at once grounded and atmospheric. Though beautiful even in stasis, her work cannot be fully appreciated until you have seen it displayed where the lighting shifts over time.
Dawn’s sculptures have been displayed in numerous venues such as the Coda Galleries in Park City, Utah, and Palm Desert, California, and most recently in the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum’s 34th Annual Contemporary Craft Exhibit. Her work has been commissioned by several companies such as Elizabeth Arden Red Door and Maestro’s Ocean Club, and by private collectors that include film producer Kiki Goshay and retired news anchor and journalist Charles Gibson.
Dawn Renee currently resides in Tucson, Arizona. When she is not working in her studio, she teaches art to a new generation of artists at the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, where she developed the prototype for the Paint Pot Palette: a Braille palette that can easily be changed to allow blind artists to choose colors for glazing. – written by: J. Ckristafer Baker
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL BFA 1994