Unique pottery on display at the library

Pottery lovers should check out the Fort Frances Public Library, which currently is displaying the works of a local potter using an ancient firing technique.
Terril Pentney’s raku pottery will be on display there for the next month.
“It is wonderful. There are great ideas for Christmas presents. There are pots, turtles, chickens, it is all great stuff,” head librarian Margaret Sedgwick said this morning.
Pentney has been making raku pottery for the last few years—an art form she previously used but which recently has re-kindled her interest.
“It is an ancient Japanese method of firing pottery,” Pentney said this morning. “It is unique because no two pieces are alike.”
Part of the reason raku pots are so individual has to do with their extensive kiln process.
“The glaze on each piece is fired at 1,700 to 1,800 degrees [F]. When it is removed from the kiln, the glaze is molten and alive,” she explained.
The piece then is placed in a chamber where it is smoked—a process that results in the pottery’s unusual patterns and metallic finishes.
“Raku is interesting and it is unpredictable. You don’t know ’til you see it what it will look like,” Pentney remarked.
That’s because the length of time from removing a piece from the kiln to placing it in the chamber to be smoked affects the glaze, so a difference of a few seconds could alter how the glaze sets.
Pentney estimated it takes about a week to move from forming the pot on the wheel to drying the clay, firing it, and smoking it.
She said the best part, by far, is the moment when she opens the kiln and sees the finished work for the first time.
“It’s fantastic,” she enthused. “It is so exciting when I open that kiln. I’m just excited to see the finished work.
“I think it is really nice that I can share it with people who are interested in it. There’s already been a good response,” Pentney added.

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