Carol Read lives and works in Buckinghamshire, UK, making ceramics in her garden studio and in collaboration with potter Richard Ballantyne.
She initially trained as a nurse, most recently working in women’s health. At school she enjoyed art and ceramics, so continued with creative activities for relaxation. When her children were small she joined an evening class in watercolour painting. This led to an Access to Art and Design course which included ceramics and sculpture.
Since 2008 she has been collaborating with the potter Richard Ballantyne as R&B Ceramics. Their work can be found in the galleries listed here.
Raku is an ancient firing technique. The word is Japanese in origin and means something like enjoyment or serendipity.
The clay pieces are initially bisque fired in an electric kiln. When cool, glazes are applied and they are placed in another kiln outside, which is fired up to 1000oC using gas. They are carefully removed from the kiln at high temperature, using tongs and wearing gloves and masks. As the glaze cools it starts to crackle. The pieces are placed in tubs of sawdust, the resulting flames and smoke penetrating the crackles. After about 20 to 30 minutes they are removed, blackened with carbon from the burnt wood.
When cooled they are scrubbed in water to reveal the crackle glaze surface. Each piece is unique.
Carol also makes ceramics, using both stoneware and porcelain clays, on the potter’s wheel. These include bowls, mugs, jars and sculptural pieces. They are fired to high temperature in an electric kiln.