Clay art show heating up

<p>Dave Deal pulls a hot raku-fired clay pot in his studio.</p>

ILWACO — Intricate designs, a lifelong observation of nature and the mysteries of the fire are combined to create the stunning Raku clay work of Dave and Boni Deal. This talented couple will be demonstrating their fine craft in the studio and kiln yard at the Peninsula Clay Artists 5th Annual Show and Sale on Aug. 10 at The Artisan, located at 114 Main Street SW, in Ilwaco.

Raku is a process developed in Asia centuries ago. An engaging process the most dramatic moment is the final firing of the pot. After a pot is brought to a glowing red (about 1,900 degrees), it is removed from the kiln and plunged into a container of organic material. Flames and smoke billow as expectations build. Will the pot be beautiful or will it crack?

The Deals have explored, perfected and added their own interpretations and uses of the ceramic materials, which resulted in a personal art form. Dave throws large vessels and platters. As soon as they are thrown, Boni begins her intricate decorating process, rubbing leaves into the wet pot and adding stains. After an initial bisque firing, Boni adds more stencils and additional glazes. Then the final firing begins. The pot will fire to several thousand degrees in Dave’s portable kiln. When the glaze starts to melt, Dave, safely dressed in full fire suit, removes the glowing red hot pot and plunges it into the reduction atmosphere. Flames and smoke shoot up as the pot reduces and the color develops. This can be dramatic when the pot is especially large in size. Once the pot has cooled, the soot and smoke are cleaned off and the final beauty of the pot is revealed; a Christmas moment.

At their studio in the Cascade foothills, the Deals have been perfecting this process for more than 30 years. They have won numerous awards for their artistry and have been featured in many national and regional articles, and can be seen on YouTube and on ‘Oregon Art Beat.’

The Deals will be working in the studio and kiln yard. To register for this demonstration contact Lestia Price at 665-2661. The price for this all day special event is $35.

The Peninsula Clay Artists 5th annual Show and Sale begins on Aug. 7 and continues through the Aug. 17. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The opening reception night is Aug. 7 between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., and features a wheel throwing demonstration given by potter emeritus Rod Maxwell-Muir and acoustic music by Brian O’Connor. The gallery will be open during the Ilwaco Art night on Aug. 15 until 8 p.m. with demonstrations by members. Admission to the gallery is free.

The show also features 15 workshops and demonstrations given by the Peninsula Clay Artists members. The classes will feature instruction in a variety of clay and mosaic techniques. Peninsula Clay Artists is dedicated to educating the members and the public about the many aspects of ceramic arts. Details about the workshop schedule, fees and enrollment may be found on, or by calling Lestia Price at 665-2661. Class registration forms are also available at the Bay Avenue Gallery in Ocean Park, M and D designs in Chinook and Long Beach and Dots ‘n Doodles in Astoria.

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