over thirty years Rick Loewenkamp has worked as a full-time
professional artist with much recognition and many awards
for the skill and perfection embodied in his raku pottery
and sculpture. Of choosing this path, Loewenkamp has
said, "I enjoy the physicality and hands-on interaction
with materials that pottery affords." The potential
for spontaneity and the challenges involved in mastering
the broad range of skills his work requires keeps the
process exciting for the artist. Today, Loewenkamp's
pots are primarily wheel-thrown although he has extensive
experience in traditional stoneware and salt-glaze firing.
It is the artist's interest
in the art of prehistoric cultures that inspires the
current designs of his work. Elements such as petroglyphs,
animal fetishes, spirit figures and geometric designs
find their way onto the sides and lids of his raku pots.
Loewenkamp also uses a process
called "wax resist" in which designs are hand
painted on a pot before glaze is applied, leaving the
area free from glaze and allowing the smoked matte clay
surface to provide contrast. Gold, silver and variegated
metal leafing appears as design elements on the artist's
most recent pieces.
At the core of Loewenkamp's
work is the challenging and unique process of raku itself.
The pots are glaze-fired in a small preheated kiln at
up to 1900 degrees Fahrenheit, then removed while glowing
hot and placed in a container of straw or sawdust. These
combustibles immediately ignite from the heat, smoking
and carbonizing the glaze, and creating an unpredictable
array of one-of-a-kind effects.
Embodying a contemporary southwestern
sensibility, Rick Loewenkamp's raku pots offer the true
spirit of an inspired artist.