20 Feb 2011

Art Book Recommendation – 500 Raku

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

A good friend of mine, artist Irit Lepkin, have told me recently that one of her Raku ceramic sculptures has just been selected for a new book, “500 Raku – Bold Explorations of a Dynamic Ceramics Technique” (Ray Hemachandra, senior editor, Lark Crafts publishing, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc, New York). Loving Irit’s artwork and the energy she has in promoting her work, combined with my natural curiosity and love for books, I wanted to see what it is all about. 

500 Raku

500 Raku, Lark Crafts, front cover image: Shelby Banks Duensing, Boxed In, 2005


So I got the book, which was just released to the public, and it is a delight, a beautiful addition to my grown collection of art books! 

Raku was developed in Japan, since the 16th century, and was the traditional way to make tea bowls for the Japanese tea ceremony. The vessels were usually hand built, were fired in low temperatures, glazed with lead glazes; and removed from the kiln while still glowing hot. 

The traditional process was adopted and enhanced by contemporary artists around the world. 500 Raku aims to show just that. The book features 500 pieces of artwork from all over the world. The book was juried by Jim Romberg, who has been working with Raku ceramics for more than 50 years: 

A professor emeritus of ceramics and a studio artist, he exhibits and gives workshops on raku throughout the United States and Europe. Romberg is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics and a borad memeber of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). 

I can imagine how hard it was to select the 500 pieces out of more the 2100 submissions. The more I explore the book, the more I get an appreciation for the vast imaginative, creative and technical diversity that this technique was evolved into, from the traditional tea sets. The book has everything – traditional and contemporary designed teapots and teacups, sculptures varied from classical to whimsical styles, conceptual pieces, wall decorations, abstract work and highly detailed ones. I actually put the book in a place I can browse it daily, because every time I open it, I find new treasures. 

I tried to decide which of the artwork I love the most, but it is an impossible task. I LOVE many of them! So, instead, I scanned through the Contributing Artists list, and found all the Israeli artists. And their work varies as much as all other work in the book. The following are the Israeli artists presented in the book. I found their images on their respective websites. Some of the images here are not those presented in the book though: 

Anderson, Ariella (Ein Ayala, Israel) 

Ariella Anderson, Pieces of Me

Ariella Anderson, Pieces of Me, 2006, 58 x 39 x 14 cm, Hand-built and slab-built Walker White Raku, sprayed glaze, imprinted with gold non-fired finished, electric fired, controlled cooling, smoking for reduction. Photo by Stewart Riddle


Even-Chen, Simcha (Rehovot, Israel) 

Simcha Even-Chen, A Moment Before

Simcha Even-Chen, A moment before......, Slab-built, burnished, terra sigillata, Naked Raku,11.5 cm x 30 cm x 24 cm (H x W X D), 2009, Photo- Ilan Amihai


Faktorowich, Sharon(Ramat Ef’al, Israel) 

Sharon Faktorowich, Frog Princess

Sharon Faktorowich, Frog Princess


Gilad, Ruth (Tel Aviv, Israel) 

Ruth Gilad, Orange Jar

Ruth Gilad, Orange Jar, Wheel thrown burnished covered with resist slip naked raku fired, Size: 8 x 7 inch (20 x 17 cm)


Lepkin, Irit (Originally from Israel, now Toronto, Ontario, Canada) 

Irit Lepkin, Temple

Irit Lepkin, Temple, 2006, 10 x 9 x 5 inches, Hand-built raku, brushed glaze, carved, gaz-fired raku, controlled cooling


Moriah-Winik, Alma (Nehora, Israel) 

Alma Moriah-Winik, Shmulik

Alma Moriah-Winik, Shmulik, 2010, hand build raku glazed, 31x15x17 (HxWxD)


Rieger, Martha(Tel Aviv, Israel) 

Martha Rieger, My Melting Pot

Martha Rieger, My Melting Pot, wheel thrown decorated by stickers, Naked Raku fired, 55cm high


Vaisgur, Sigal (Shoham, Israel) 

Sigal Vaisgur, Human Fish

Sigal Vaisgur, Human Fish, 2009, 14x27.9x11 cm, hand-built Sibelco K129, brushed glaze, gas fired, smoking for reduction

Yudell, Mark (Pardes Hannah-Karkur, Israel) 

Mark Yudell, Nus, 2007, 6 x 4 x 6.5 inches, Hand-built Vingerling-129, dipped glazed, underglaze brushwork, gas fired, smoking for reduction

Mark Yudell, Nus, 2007, 6 x 4 x 6.5 inches, Hand-built Vingerling-129, dipped glazed, underglaze brushwork, gas fired, smoking for reduction


I whole-heartedly recommand this book for all art lovers, ceramic lovers, ceramic artists who would like to get inspired, and just about anyone out there. 



You can purchase this book on Amazon at “500 Raku – Bold Explorations of a Dynamic Ceramics Technique 

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8 Responses to “Art Book Recommendation – 500 Raku”

  1. איפה העבודה של אירית?



  2. I love Mark Yudell’s works, saw him in deferent show and exhibition in Israel. and he is great guy too.



  3. לאירית אין אתר אינטרנט אז לא היה לי מאיפה למצוא תמונות….
    אני מקווה שהיא תשלח לי



    Moshe Mikanovsky

  4. I think I also saw some of his work in Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. There was a show about small ceramic dolls from all over the world. The last room exhibited work from contemporary Israeli artist, who made work using the different themes from the show, with their own artistic interpretation.



    Moshe Mikanovsky

  5. I’m totally impressed with Ariella Anderson’s, Pieces of Me.
    It’s such an expressive piece. The other works shown here are amazing, too. I can’t wait to see what else is in the book. I’ve been interested in Raku ever since I found some Raku beads to use in my jewelry creating. I love their subtle beauty.


    Linda Lamore

  6. Thank you Linda, yes the work is amazing and is just a small sample. I wad proud to find the Israeli artists in there…. Am I biased? Just proud Israeli I guess :-)



    Moshe Mikanovsky

  7. A small correction, 500 pieces were selected out from 2100 submissions


    Simcha Even-chen

  8. Thank you Simcha, you are right, my typo! I fixed it now

    Thanks for the note
    PS I LOVE your work!


    Moshe Mikanovsky

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