Pat Armstrong has lived all her life in a small village close to Stamford in Lincolnshire. Pat worked as a secretary until the age of 41 before deciding to go to Art College. It was while studying at Tresham College, Kettering that that she discovered an affinity to clay and the wheel.Pat continued her studies at Sunderland Polytechnic School of Art and Design and was awarded a Batchelor’s degree in 3D Design. She has had a sucessful career working as a studio potter and in 1990 won the Charlie Bray Award for the best over all performance in Glass and Ceramics.
Pat specialises in Raku ceramics and we exhibit a range of her copper-fumed pots. These pots have beautifully vibrant colours and a velvet textured finish. The patterns created by copper fuming is achieved by the applying 90% copper oxide and 10% glaze mixture onto the surface of the pot before firing. This is a notoriously difficult technique to control and no two pots ever looking the same.
Raku is a Japanese technique of glaze firing and it is closely linked to the Tea Ceremony. It involves removing the pot from the kiln when the glaze is molten (around 900 degrees centigrade). The pot is then put into a reduction chamber (usually an oil drum or galvanised bucket) and covered with sawdust.
The act of covering the pot with sawdust also cuts off the oxygen to the pot, but because it is still very hot it takes oxygen from the oxides in the glaze to enable it to keep burning. This chemical action caused the copper in the glaze to come to the surface of the pot, giving a lustrous finish.