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Barry Bernstein

Booth Number: 214

Marquette, MI
Barry Bernstein Raku

Artist Statement

I’ve been making vessels and firing in the Raku process for over 35 years. I use the vessel form as my canvas and the firing process as my paint brush. Slight adjustments in the firing and cooling create a wide range of colors and textures. I try to create visually strong forms and strong surface treatment. Pieces must have both to be considered successful. I make simple forms with very little embellishment to get at the strength and inner beauty of the vessel form.

My pieces reflect the hues and the forms of our Upper Peninsula environment. Many of my pieces celebrate the Northern Lights. Others are reminiscent of Lake Superior and the brilliance of the fall colors.

Other influences include 7th to 17th century Asian ceramics and Native American pottery. Another is an artist/instructor named Richard Devore who fired his pieces numerous times. Devore fired his pieces in an electric kiln and I thought I would try the technique with Raku. To my delight, I obtained hues and textures not usually found in Raku. This has led to other experimentation including glaze firing the pieces twice in an electric kiln before I Raku fire. Each piece gets 2-4 Raku firings. Sometimes I over fire the pieces and then under fire them. Each subtle change in the Raku process creates different results. I’m still experimenting.