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RAKU WITH CHRIS JENSEN

Since his retirement from the University of Derby in 1997, Chris Jensen has divided his time between property refurbishment and making pots on a commission basis, working in stoneware and 'Raku'.

Back in 1968 whilst teaching at the Chesterfield College of Art and Design, he was introduced to the Canadian potter John Reeve by Geoffrey Fuller, who was then a student at the Farnham School of Art, following his pre-Diploma course at Chesterfield. A subsequent agreement by John Reeve to run a workshop in Chesterfield, where he demonstrated his throwing techniques and introduced both the staff and students to his approach to Japanese 'Raku'.

The availability of coke from the College's boiler room and the relatively cheap price of paraffin, made these the fuels of that time. A weed burner provided the dragon-like noises and the heat for a simple but efficient brick-built kiln, whilst the slow burning coke kiln provided for a more interactive participation by students, staff and visitors to the Pottery Department.

Chris Jensen has, over the years, developed many forms of 'Raku' kilns, for Colleges and Universities in Great Britain and America.

It is the excitement and theatrical qualities of the process of 'Raku' firing which inspires an understanding of the making, glazing and firing of pots.

This information is offered in appreciation of the work and influence of John Reeve, who died in June 2012, in Vancouver.

'Raku' ware is associated with the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Chộjirộ Raku's memory was honoured by Hideyoshi Toyotomi when he granted Jộkei Chộjirộ's son a gold seal, bearing the character 'Raku', which signifies “enjoyment of leisure”.

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