The Show that Almost Wasn’t: Raku Platters by Edna Dickinson

The Show that Almost Wasn’t: Raku Platters by Edna Dickinson

By Ilene Ferber

Zoho Galería is pleased to present a new series of raku platters by Edna Dickinson.

This was the show that almost wasn’t. Dickinson planned to exhibit a series of platters in the gallery in May, but her first thought, when San Miguel started to close down due to COVID-19, was: “Who is going to be interested in art now?” However, as she considered people isolated in their homes, she realized that art could be a welcome distraction and might make some people feel less alone, so she went back into her studio and finished making this group of platters. The result is that Zoho is presenting them to the public online.

To create these platters, Dickinson used simple, bold, abstracted calligraphic markings, glazed in neutral colors with a touch of gold luster, red, or blue. The elemental connectedness and exciting immediacy of the Japanese process of raku completed the design.

Raku is an ancient Japanese process where pieces of ceramic are heated in a kiln and pulled out when they are red-hot. They are then plunged into a container of combustible materials (like newspaper and sawdust) where they are exposed to flames and covered to deprive them of oxygen. The result is that where glaze has been applied, you get a wonderful variety of colors. In places with no glaze you get a matte black coloring.

Dickinson says that what attracts her to raku firing is the excitement, unpredictability, and the mystery of finished pieces that can be surprisingly different from what was imagined. The pieces endure a journey that rapidly plunges them from the molten heat of the kiln and through fire where they emerge scarred from their ordeal. For some pieces the damage can be incidental; for others it can be fatal, which makes the ones that emerge whole even more special.

All of the pieces in this show can be seen on the Zoho Gallery website zohogallery.com. While the gallery at the Fábrica Aurora no longer has regularly scheduled hours, our gallery staff is still working, so if you are interested in learning more about any of these platters, you can contact Myrna or Tonina at zohogallery@gmail.com. We hope you enjoy the show.

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