Featured Artist Ruth Apter

Ruth Apter’s raku sculptures are inspired by traditional fetishes of the Southwest. Visit her website to see more of her work.

 

Running Horse in Turquoise

“Running Horse in Turquoise” Raku Fired Ceramics and Copper Wire, 6″ L

 

A friend asked me the other day when I decided to be an artist. I was baffled by the question. I couldn’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t making things or thinking about color, texture and design.

 

Love Bunnies

“Love Bunnies” Raku Fired Ceramics, 3″H

 

I have spent my lifetime exploring materials and techniques. There were a few art school classes that I attended decades ago, but I would have to say my journey is primarily self taught, with some mentoring from artistic friends along the way.

 

Dog with Hydrant

“Dog with Hydrant” Raku Fired Ceramics, 2.75″L

 

My current work in clay is somewhat of a surprise for me. My earlier attempts with clay involved the wheel. I hate throwing pots, and I do not like sitting at a machine. I admire potters but I do not make pots. I sculpt. I glaze tiles.

 

Red Bear with Salmon

“Red Bear with Salmon” Raku Fired Ceramics, 3″L

 

When I take a step back and look at the animals I create, it occurs to me that I am after their essence. I do not make bears . . . I make “bear-ness”. When I am working on a new design, it often takes me a few tries to capture the look and pose I am after. Sometimes I think my work looks like a young child made it, especially when I am working on a prototype and I get it wrong. The next one just might have the qualities I am looking for.

 

Owls

“Owls” Raku Fired Ceramics, 3″L

 

Raku is a tricky business. The very nature of the process involves risk. Raku is akin to glass working in some ways.

 

Howling Wolf

“Howling Wolf” Smoke Fired Ceramics, 3″L

 

I do love playing with fire and taking calculated chances. There are design limitations involved with raku. I believe I have pushed the limits, both working on such a small scale and with designs that have lots of fragile parts.

 

Buffalo

“Buffalo” Raku Fired Ceramics, 3″L

 

I am fascinated by the never-ending variations found in the copper glazes; fire patterns caught and frozen. I do my firing in an unusual way. I take the pieces out of my custom electric kiln when they reach 1850 degrees Fahrenheit and place the copper glazed animals in a bucket with a crumpled piece of paper. With tongs, I grab up the flaming paper around the animal and plunge it into a bucket of water. The patterns of the flames are captured on the surface as the piece is suddenly cooled.

 

3 Sea Otters in Gren Tea White and Leaf Green Crackle Glazes

“3 Sea Otters in Green Tea White and Leaf Green Crackle Glazes” Raku Fired Ceramics, 3.25″L

 

I use a lot of colors in my work, and love the way the crackle lines are enhanced by the smoke. I blow on each critter as it is taken out of the kiln until I hear it start to ping from the stress. Next, I plunge the piece into a bucket of sawdust and whole oats. As the piece smolders, the patterns are formed and the smoke enters the cracks and is trapped. This is the magic of doing a raku firing. I have fired thousands of pieces, and I am still captivated.

 

Two Billy Goats in White and Patches

“Two Billy Goats in White and Patches” Raku Fired Ceramics, 2.75″L

 

My nephew once asked me how I know if I have done good work. He gets a raise and an “attaboy” at work. I told him either my work sells or it doesn’t. All my “attagirls” have to come from within. And so it is with most artists, I think.

 

Ruth Apter invites you to follow her on Facebook.

 

Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Click below to sign up for our twice-monthly email. You’ll get all this plus opportunities and special offers that you can’t get anywhere else!

Sign Up For Updates!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the exposure. I could not be more pleased!

  2. mingshuowu says:

    wonderful

  3. Lovely work, you have a lovely yard as seen in Robin Urtons photos…

Speak Your Mind

*