Oakmont Rochester Independent’s ongoing partnership with the Creative Arts Studio in Royal Oak has presented our residents the opportunity to try new things, be creative in new mediums, and learn more about the process of making art. From painting and pottery to mosaics and mixed media, each month brings with it a new chance to create something beautiful.

The project for the month of August was Raku Ware. A form of traditional Japanese pottery that dates back to the 16th century, Raku’s unique look and texture is brought about by first glazing a piece of dried pottery, then heating it to high temperature in a kiln, and quickly cooling it down in a reduction chamber. The results are often stunning patterns of earth tones, and depending on the glaze used, intricate colors and sheens kissed in unique patterns by the fire of the combustion.

To prepare for the day of Raku, the Creative Arts Studio created by hand a variety of unique vases. After choosing which custom vase they liked the most, residents were given the opportunity to select glazes of their choice and apply them in whichever pattern they liked. When the glazing was complete and the surfaces were dry, the pieces were placed in a kiln that brought the temperature up to over 500 degrees – activating the glazes and preparing the pieces for the Raku-signature combustion cooling.

Once heated to the proper temperature, each piece was placed in its own reduction chamber where it began to cool. Soon after, residents could identify which piece was theirs and were able to take home their creation to display in their apartment or present as a gift to family and friends.

The results of the residents’ efforts were truly stunning. Each vase turned out beautiful and unique in its own way, just like the artists themselves. The residents were encouraged not only by the satisfaction of making art but also by how much they learned about the age-old process perfected in Japan so many years ago.

Take a look through our photo gallery below which will take you through the entire experience – from raw clay to finished pieces.