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Kathleen Tennock

Kathleen Tennock

Medium: Ceramics
Location: Whistler, BC
Member Since: 2014

Kathleen Tennock was born in South Africa where she studied Fine Art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation. Since 2000, Kathleen has been working primarily in clay, using primitive methods of firing like Naked Raku. In this process, the prepared piece is taken from the kiln when it is red-hot and placed in a chamber of combustible material like sawdust; the heat of the pot ignites the sawdust, creating smoke, and a lid is put on top of the chamber to seal off all oxygen. The severe temperature changes open the glaze up in some areas, allowing the smoke to penetrate the clay. Afterward, the glaze is removed, leaving behind only the raw clay and the carbon marks left by the smoke.

All of her work is left unglazed. The raw texture of the clay and the spontaneous markings created by the smoke firing during the Naked Raku process give Kathleen’s work a natural and almost stone-like quality. Primitively fired pottery is not food safe and is meant for decorative use only. The surface is porous and will not hold water.


“I feel very fortunate to have had a childhood in Africa, surrounded by the colour and rhythm of the African people. Though I no longer live there, the forms and textures of Africa are still very present in my work. Without using glaze I can maintain the tactile quality of the clay, something that is very important to me, because I want my work to invite touch as much as I want it to be visually pleasing. The spontaneous surface decoration offered by the Naked Raku process is particularly suited to the task of learning how to let go.”

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