Raku Jar c. 1986, by Chris Cockell



Chris Cockell (1971 - 1992) | Raku jar (c.1986) | earthenware, raku fired | Gift of Capricornia Potters, 1986.

Chris Cockell (1971 – 1992) was a London-born ceramicist who spent much of his life creating work in New Zealand. Cockell entertained a profound appreciation for clay and the firing process, often experimenting and learning the vagaries of gas and wood as fuel, evidenced through the above Raku Jar (c. 1986).  Working relentlessly to make his firing more effective, Cockell through trial and error, sought to refine and reimagine the gas firing process in the context of New Zealand. His innovation was realised against the background of the 1970s oil crisis, with many potters adopting the findings of Cockell’s publication The Gas Kiln Book (1984) and switching to a liquefied petroleum gas alternative. 

Early Years Interpretation

Chris Cockell was a ceramicist who was born in London but lived and worked in New Zealand, Chris worked very hard to improve the firing techniques used by potters and after experimenting with different methods he wrote a book about using gas a fuel for kilns.

This artwork is called Raku Jar (c.1986), the raku process of firing clay means that Chris would have removed this work from a kiln while it was red hot and it would have cooled in open air or in another container. Raku firing would leave different effects on works like black smoke colours, metallic and shiny colours and effects, sometimes crackled surfaces as well. Which raku effects can you see in this work?