Monthly Archives: July 2011

French Raku Studio “la porte du soleil”

Raku tumbler by Philippe Buraud

Philippe Buraud


La porte du soleil – ‘Gate of the Sun’


Situated 37km south of Paris in the region of Essonne in a rural location is a quaint studio that attracts pottery aficionados wanting to explore the applications of Raku Ceramics. The workshops are conducted by Philippe Buraud and Jacqueline Hoerter whose backgrounds were respectively in Photography and Scientific Research before following their desire to create  French Raku pottery.. After 20 years of striving, testing and researching various raku pottery techniques they  now, on a fulltime basis, confidently guide others to achieve fantastic results in the subtle art of Raku. Their influences have ranged from ancient African techniques of pottery from the Kalabougou Malian Association Teria to internships with Brigitte Mororn  Houdebine and Patrick in the Ardeche. The ceramic styles they pursue are Raku, firing in saggers, raku naked, cooking with wood and  terra sigillata. Judging by the results , they have an intrinsic flair for inspiration and creativity and guiding others to find these attributes.

The ancient Japanese practices of Raku are still honored in their courses. For example in the creation of the Japanese tea ceremony bowls ( chawan )  irregular, uneven, flawed, sometimes rough form is encouraged to enhance their organic charm.  In April 2007 The Association The Gate of the Sun ( la porte du solei )was created as it seemed to Phillipe and Jacqueline to  be  the best way to naturally discover and share their passion and to encourage meetings and enthusiastic discussions . They regularly conduct 4 day workshops ( 2  weekends ) during the Spring and Summer.

Chawan Raku - la porte du soleil workshop

Raku chawan

A distinction between the Raku techniques covered in the course are : Unlike a conventional ceramic cooking, which includes a slow rise and fall in temperature in the kiln, a raku firing is short. The room is quickly rising to the temperature of maturation of the enamel (typically 900 to 1050 ° C) and removed  immediately from the oven. The heat shock induces contractions of the various enamels and the earth cracks appear in the glaze of  the piece, which is then  immersed in a container of organic matter to undergoe a post reduction. The lack of oxygen changes the color of the enamel, resulting in iridescent metallic oxides, and the carbon released from burning organic matter enters the cracks of the enamel and draws subtle black networks.

The Naked Raku is a variant of the previous technique. The room gets a polished layer of glaze that does not adhere to the shard, then a layer of enamel. This separates the ceramic enamel after the reduction, leaving an image on the part of its cracks.

The terra sigillata : The land polished sigillated and smoky are techniques that come from the depths of time and numerous fragments have been found in archaeological searches, and with Greek, Roman and Mayan pottery decor with their red and black surface slips ranging from a soft lustre to a brilliant glaze-like shine. These techniques survive in all current commercial productions from Africa, Latin America and Asia. It is an unglazed pottery bearing the traces of iron and fire.


 la porte du soleil workshop - Phillipe - French raku potter on the pottery wheel

Philippe Buraud on the wheel



Creating Raku at la porte du soleil - Essonne, FranceLa porte du soleil workshop



Raku production at la porte du soleil, Provence of Ile de France, Paris region

Raku firing – la porte du soleil


raku firing la porte du soleil workshop

La porte du soleil Raku workshop



removing raku pottery from kiln with tongs

Raku pottery kiln



raku pottery la porte du soleil

Raku reduction



Fired Raku - la porte du soleil at Provence of Ile de France, Paris region

Fired raku pottery – La porte du soleil



Raku Flambe

Raku creation – la porte du soleil, Paris region



Cleaning raku fired ceramic - la porte du soleil workshopCleaning Raku pottery



Smoking Raku pottery la porte du soleilRaku pottery



Lunch in the Provence of Ile de France at the la porte du soleil

La porte du soleil raku workshop lunch break



Philippe Buraud raku vessel

Philippe Buraud


Philippe Buraud raku vase

Philippe Buraud



Raku Vase by Philippe Buraud

Philippe Buraud



Philippe Buraud


Philippe-Buraud raku vessel

Philippe Buraud


French Pottery Class 2010 la porte du soleil - Provence of Ile de France Provence of Ile de France

 La porte du soleil Raku pottery workshop 2010



Raku emerald bowl by Philippe Buraud

Philippe Buraud raku vessel




Blue raku bust



Penguin-raku - Sun gate workshop, France

Raku ceramic penguin




Philippe Buraud




 La porte du soleil raku



Raku la-pièce-collective-from La porte du soleil

Abstract raku la pièce collective



French-Raku-vases -Philippe Buraud

Contemporary raku vases by Philippe Buraud



French-Raku vase La porte du soleil

Raku vase



Smoking-Raku-mask at La porte du soleil

Raku mask emerging from smoke



Raku-modernist-bust La porte du soleil

Modernist raku bust



Philippe-Buraud-French-Raku vessel

Philippe Buraud raku vessel



Philippe-Buraud-lidded raku bottle

Philippe Buraud raku lidded bottle




La porte du soleil ( Gate of the Sun) at Provence of  Ile de France, Paris region, Essonne



la-porte-du-soleil doorknocker

more info on la porte du soleil raku pottery

email –  contact@laportedusoleil



Pottery image collection

Raku Pottery Jar

Lunar Eclipse raku pottery Jar by Abubistj ( DeviantArt )

This jar  is 13 inches tall with a combination of 5 different glazes applied in succession.

Moorcroft Two Handled VaseMoorcroft Two Handled Vase

Charmaine Haynes

Japanese Satsuma VaseJapanese Satsuma Vase

Matthew Blakely - Stoneware VesselMatthew Blakely – Stoneware vase with porcelain slip.

see Contemporary Ceramics

Art Deco Chameleon Vase

Art Deco Chameleon Vase by George Clews and Co.  Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, c.1930. With hand painted cobalt blue background and chocolate flames detailing.  ( from Art Nouveau Passion ) More Art Deco

Ceramic clockClock for a mantle (1909/1910) Produced by Wiener Werkstaette

see Ceramic clocks 

electric blue vase   –  Denby

Kitch and quirky tribute

Happy Potter

 Susa, Iran Louvre, Departement des Antiquites Orientales, Paris, France

Procession of archers,glazed tiles,H:200 cm Detail of two life-size archers (515 BCE) from the palace of Dareios the Great (522-486 BCE), Susa, Iran

Louvre, Departement des Antiquites Orientales, Paris, France

Self-sacrifice of a high personage.Maya art.

Self-sacrifice of a high personage.Maya art.

see Pottery Pieces From Antiquity.

Polish Ceramika Teapot

White Glazed FigurineSui-White Glazed Figurine Woman Holding Jar-Shanghai Museum

“Ozzy”    2010 “1 Star” Award Design By Nicola Slaney

Turkish Bowls

Hand-painted Turkish Bowls

See Pottery Markets Tsunami Equanimity1 by The Buddhabuilder

Accepted into the 2011 Visions of Clay Exhibit at Stockton California.

The juror, Judith S. Schwartz, Ph.D., has identified an international movement of artists who use clay confrontationally within the context of what might be called: art activism.  Visions of Clay will be taking place at the LH Horton Jr Gallery Aug – Sept. 2011.

Yin Yang ceramic trays

2 Syracuse Yin Yang pottery trays

see : Feng Shui Pottery

Greek AmphoraAmphora depicting fighting athletes. National Archaeological Museum of Athens

More ancient Greek Pottery   

Zsolnay Gravy boatZsolnay  Phoneix Gravy Boat

Doug Dacey Vase

Doug Dacey -Piedmont Craft

Jim Connell

Posset-pot with snakes

Posset pot




French Champost Pitcher

Champost Pitcher

Garnet Frost – Sevres

Image courtesy of Jason Jacques Inc.

Van Briggle Vase

Van Briggle Vase

Teotihuacan-style vessel  ( Deyoung )

 Burmantofts Pitcher -( Meridian Gallery )

Ardmore Zebra Plate

Ardmore Zebra Plate – Thrower: Lovemore Sithole

Painter(s): Alex Shabalala, Mtengeni Ntshalintshali

Barry Singleton

John Ward –  Bowl ( tulip form )

Malcolm Pepper

Harrison Mckintosh

Art Nouveau Vase

Burmantoft Art Nouveau pottery vase



The Italian Pottery studio of Mirta Morigi

Moriga Bottega

The Moriga Bottega is in its 37th year of existence.  Mirta Morigi was born in Faenza ( Italy ) where she lives and works today. After attending the Istituto D’Arte G.Ballardini in 1973 she opened her “Bottega Di Ceramica (Studio of Ceramics)”. Her masterpieces reflect both the traditonal and the contemporary. She employs the ancient techniques of producing and painting the ceramic pieces and  injecting modern style and meaning into traditional designs. Her more “traditional” designs reflect her intense, passionate understanding and appreciation of the historic roots of maiolica design. Her less traditional designs reflect her love of animals and their inherently whimsical and spontaneous nature.


Her shop is in the historic center of the city, and over the years has become, in keeping with the renaissance style, a place of encounter and exchange between people and cultures, artists and designers of renown, and her ceramics, even today, is the successful synthesis of the noble past of Faience majolica with the future. Not only is it a unique ceramic workshop, it is also made up and conducted mainly by women, Mirta and her girls- containers of ideas, crossing genres and technique, it is a place of ‘”intelligent hands”, a treasure trove of that genius loci that made Faience known to all the world.


Red glaze Italian vases by Mirta Morigi with long tail lizard figurines

Row of Mirta Morigi red glaze vases


The art critic Sandro Bassi described her style:  Like a jazz piece, Morigi mixes classical style with improvisation, dissonance with poetry, elegant tradition with sentimental pottery. It has been more instinctive than meditated, resulting from a stream of consciousness, not academia, that has defined her ceramics as ‘currently traditional’: this paradox is one that recurs when one wants to express a little of the charm that, often, contradicts itself.  Then, Morigi, after having played for years with tradition, has abandoned it to follow new paths always closer to fun and desecration than the restrictions of the classic Faenza maiolica. The capacity to combine such diverse elements appears to be a constant route for Morigi, as her workshop maintains its roots in tradition, while the investigation and purposes of her work are contemporary; the figure of ‘maestro’ is intertwined with the style of the apprentice, not unlike those of the medieval and renaissance studios. The nature of the objects doesn’t respond to a precise market demand, but rather to messages that, from time to time, often profoundly come from the heart, from pride and rationality that translate themselves in the execution. Morigi continues in her diverse method of working with ceramics – using all that goes through her mind beyond that which is requested (from fittings and furnishings to architecture: whether for a house or an inn, for a cruise ship or a public building, or for a town square or a simple shop).



Yellow baluster vase with turquoise lizard handles by Mirta Morigi

Lizard handled vase – Mirta Morigi



Mirta Morigi sculpting a lizard on a pot

Mirta Morigi decorating a pot



Modernist ceramic wall art in red, green and white stripes - Mirta Mogigi

Mirta Morigi – 2011





Ceramic ‘Burdela’ figurines – Mirta Morigi

Traditional 'Burdela' doll figurines - Mirta Morigi

Mirti Morigi ceramic figurines 2011

The pop references in her work came to fruition this year in the “Burdela” collection (Romagnole dialect for ‘little girl’)- small ceramic dolls, characterized by few decorative or formal elements – and in the ”Baubo vulve mystique” collection, where she explores and interprets, with her own personal ceramic language, old myths of prehistoric “Venuses”, sorts of bizarre figures referring to the iconography of the Goddess Mother.




 Studio visit :

Tiziana visited Mirta Morigi’s studio in 2010 and described her experience in .. When I stepped through the old door into Mirta’s bottega it felt like I was traveling back in time, when technology did not own our lives and working meant “laboring”. Biscotto piled up on every shelf, sketches pinned all around, brushes, easels, pieces at different production stages, busy people sitting at small desks, the perennial grayish dust of clay everywhere. Nobody seemed to pay any attention to me and I was really wondering if I had misinterpreted the indications I’d found on Mirta’s showroom window in the main street of Faenza. Then a nice girl looked up from her half painted plate and asked me if I was looking for Mirta.

A hesitant “yes, I am” and I was told “She’s in the back room”. Impossible not to feel at home! Mirta is a force of nature. For the hour or so I stayed in her bottega, she was everywhere and with everyone at the same time, molding clay owls, teaching her daughter to do the same, helping Customers in their choice, eating watermelon, chatting with me, making arrangements for lunch with a friend of hers… Strongly opinionated, full of energy, authoritative yet motherly, she runs her studio with passion and resolution. She founded her bottega more than 35 years ago, when making pottery in Faenza seemed to beat a dead horse. Many ceramicists were closing down and many others were downgrading their production. She bet on her talents, her ability to innovate and her common sense and she succeeded.

Green lizard on the pot rim

Green ceramic lizard



Morigi-black ceramic dragon figurine

Black dragon figurine – Mirta Morigi


Her bottega is still there, in the court of the Barbavara House, a charming old building in the historical district of Faenza. Mirta proudly refuses the distinction between artistic ceramics and art ceramics. To her, pottery making is first of all a “mestiere”, a craft, to be lived with discipline and passion. Its aim is to provide the Customer with functional objects, that’s why she is so hugely proud of her recently launched and very successful dinnerware. However, functionality has a very broad meaning in Mirta’s opinion. She shot me a cute, rascal-ish glance, showing me some small, irregular bowls and she told me they were “smile holders” …”you know, before going out in the morning or whenever you need it you can always find a smile in here”. Those bowls… aren’t they the most functional objects you can think of?


Sky blue glaze pot with white spotted blue frog figurine on lip - Mirta Morigi

Mirta Morigi frog pot



If I were to describe a bottega from the Renaissance I’d get my inspiration from Mirta’s. As announced by a cardboard on her door -”Mirta and her girls”, five or more young and talented pottery makers and a wheel thrower work together the artist. They are there to work and learn and they actively contribute to the success of Mirta’s production. I was truly impressed by the harmony and the cohesion of the organization. In a beautiful text that I found in the catalogue of an exhibition of Mirta’s work in Naples, she writes: “Special thanks to my girls, Edda, Serena, Francesca, Mi Hee, Erica and my daughter Gaia, because together we make “Bottega Morigi”. I share with them my ideas, my projects, my emotions and problems, with their help I can face and solve them … it’s also thanks to their patience and love that I did the trick! The old fashioned organization of Mirta’s bottega can be easily labeled as a contradiction in the attitude of an artist who is very innovative. Indeed, it is not. Mirta has always taken from the past whatever she liked or thought useful to her art, cleverly turning it into something new, unheard of, often with an abundant dose of irony.



Mirta Morigi Italian red lizard vase

Red Lizard vase- Mirta Morigi



The perfection of a classic shape often is broken by protrusions and warps. Flippant chameleons, long lizards, buoyant frogs complement the elegant design of tall vases, contorted platters and large bowls. Wrinkles and folds shatter her collection of “vasi sconvolti” – shattered vases – sculptural pieces that refuse to oblige the rules of symmetry. Mirta’s colors are always uncompromised. No shades soften the surfaces, with the exception of her hyper-detailed fabulous animals. If it must be green, then it’s a pure, bright green. Her favorite? Right now she’s working a lot with red: a compact, imposing red. Her friend and great artist herself, Elisabetta Bovina, commented: “Mirta imposes pottery as a popular and illustrative language. Her genre is border-line, between sophisticated tradition and unconventional innovation”. What more can we add? Mirta Morigi Via Barbavara 19/4 Faenza [email protected]



Mirta Morigi shaping a large pot



Mirta-Morigi-teapot with three red fish

Blue teapot with red fishes


Bottega Morigi pottery team Moriga Bottega team

M Morigi 2012 black ceramic teapot with a red snake figurine on the edge

Ceramic red snake on teapot – Mirta Morigi




serena at Mirta Morigi bottega



Mirta Morigi Italian bottega

Pot decorating


Red ovoid lizard handle vase with lady bug mini sculptures

Large ovoid red vase


Mirta Morig bottega




Tall Mirta Morigi green vase

Tall green vase with blue frog figurine on the rim – Mirta Morigi



Morigi-red-multi faceted vessel

Red vase with frog figures on the rim – Mirta Morigi



Morigi Bottega potters

Potters of Morigi Bottega


Mirta Morigi working in her bottega

Mirta Morigi in her busy bottega

Mirta Morigi Bottega Shop and Studio in Faenza

Mirta Morigi Shop and Studio

A green vase, red vase and white vase with lizrd figurinesby Mirta Morigi

Mirta Morigi vases


Image by Alfredo Liverani

Large green bowl with seven green lizards on the rim – Mirta Morigi

Image by Alfredo Liverani



mMirta Morigi twin lizard motif dish

Twin lizard motif bowl – Mirta Morigi

Image by Alfredo Liverani



Mirta Morigi studio

An essential part of an Italian studio – an espresso machine !



Rich green glazed pot with 3 white spotted green frogs on the rim - Mirta Morigi

Green pot with three frog figurines on the rim – Mirta Morigi




Red glaze vessel with three white spotted red frogs on the rim by Mirta-Morigi

Red vase with three frogs by Mirta Morigi



Mirta Morigi Contemporary Ceramic green ceramic pyramids

Mirta Morigi Contemporary Ceramic



Spherical red glazed pot with large lizard figurine on top - Mirta Morigi

Red lizard vase – Mirta Morigi


Mirta Morigi Facebook