Ed Oldfield was born in Orillia Ontario in 1955. While still young, he moved with his family to Duncan, British Columbia. He graduated from high school there in 1973 and went on to the University of Victoria where he studied Visual Art and graduated with a B.F.A. in 1977.
He continued his studies in the Faculty of Education receiving his teaching certificate in 1978. In 1992 he earned a M.Ed. degree in educational administration also from the University of Victoria.
Ed now lives in Powell River where he taught grade 7 students until very recently. After 28 years of teaching visual arts and pottery at the high school level, Ed now channels his artistic energy into creating uniquely west-coast artwork – Raku pots and sculptures.
Raku pottery is created with a firing process that uses both fire and smoke. With Raku pottery, the piece is first bisque fired. Then, it is glazed and undergoes a Raku firing process. The Raku firing process requires a special kiln where the pots remain in the kiln for approximately 30 minutes.
While the Raku is still hot and glowing, it is placed inside a metal can full of combustible materials. The heat emitted causes these materials to catch on fire. A lid is placed over the can and the Raku pottery is sealed inside.
As the fire consumes the oxygen within the can, it also draws the oxygen out of the Raku pottery and its glaze. This process is called post fire reduction. It is this stage that creates the unique look of Raku pottery. The resulting patterns and colors are unpredictable, as they are created through the natural process of oxygen removal. After about 15 minutes, the pots are removed and placed in a can of water. This freezes the patterns that were created during the post fire reduction stage.
You can find more of Ed’s beautiful work at https://www.sidestreetstudio.com/
One of the great pleasures of owning a studio is that just occasionally you meet an artist who produces some really creative and beautiful work. Darcy Epp is a perfect example. Her Raku is stunning and very well worth viewing.
Darcy began her pottery career in 1993 by taking some night classes with a studio potter. She immediately realized that working with the magic of clay on the potter’s wheel and individual hand sculpting was something that would be immensely fulfilling.
She has taken many workshops in both functional and decorative pieces at North Island College and Metchosin International School of the Arts, as well as specialized workshops and seminars from Gordon Hutchens (Denman Island), Siegele and Haley (Arkansas), Alan Burgess (Courtenay) as well as many others.
Not limiting herself to one medium, she has learned and crosses over between traditional thrown pottery to slab work, Raku and porcelin, often incorporating the theory of one discipline to another. A passion for ocean themes, her attention to the intricate details of orcas, starfish, and rockfish has earned her pottery prominence in some of the most exclusive resort destinations venues.
Raku is an ancient type of Japanese firing dating back to the 16th century. Beautiful iridescent blues, violets, copper and crackle glazes are produced on either wheel thrown or sculptural pottery. The pottery is fired to 1800° and then “reduced” in a chamber which catches fire immediately. The fire uses up all the oxygen in both glaze and chamber, thus producing one of a kind results.
Darcy lives in Black Creek on lovely Vancouver Island. B.C. and you can find more of her beautiful work at Side Street Studio, Victoria, B.C.
A World Made By Hand