The work that you will see on my website is fired raku pottery. It is created by me, William K. Turner. I have been doing raku for over 25 years and making my living from it for over 20 years. My technique is represented in the consistent quality of colors in the raku I produce. The story below is about how I got to this point in my life as an artist.
I want to thank you for looking at my site and for taking time to learn more about my work. After spending over 12 years traveling to shows, having Showrooms in High Point (NC), Chicago, Seattle, and Dallas; I spent 6 years selling to people on eBay, selling work to people was rewarding. I sold almost 3000 pieces of raku on eBay.
At one time in the mid 90's I had 7 employees and produced an average of 200 pieces of raku a week, which sold in stores all over the US. I had 12 manufacturer's reps who took samples of my work and color catalogs to stores all over the country to get me orders. I have sold to Hudson's, Dayton's, Marshall Field's, The Discovery Store's, and Rooms To Go stores throughout Florida and Georgia, as well as 100's of Galleries and Furniture stores. My work has been sold in several different Catalogs, too.
In 2000, I got rid of my permanent showroom in High Point, my reps, and all my employees. I stopped because my art, doing raku, was not fun anymore. I had no time to spend with my family. I work out of a studio/barn on my two acres in rural Dover, Florida and I wasn't seeing my family. I have two daughters and my beautiful wife who I wanted to spend time with. When you are in the business of having showrooms in major markets, twice a year you need new work and new lines. Everyone wants to know what is new this season?
For almost 7 years I worked alone; I produced what I wanted, and put it on eBay. I took my daughters to school and picked them up in the afternoon. I help with their homework and most nights we have family dinners together. I loved the freedom selling on eBay afforded me. I still had some stores buying from me and there are design firms who remember me for custom orders. For the several years I didn't promote myself to the wholesale market.
The summer of 2006 I made a decision to join a website called WholesaleCrafts.com. It is a website catering to Artist selling wholesale and only stores can buy on this site. I applied and after a couple of months of waiting I was accepted. I did their first wholesale show called ACRE in May '07 and after my first year on the site I had over 60 Galleries carrying my work.
I have a special Copper Matte Raku Glaze that I have worked with and developed over the last 20 years. I sell it all over the world. This glaze is the best, most consistent Copper Matte glaze I have ever seen. I get more colors with this one glaze then most raku artist get with ten glazes. I have developed techniques for pulling and reducing my work where I am able to get the darker; reds, blues, and purples, or I can get the lighter pastels of gold's, pinks, lavenders, and Toulouse. I rarely lose a piece because of cracks. I hardly ever get scaring on the sides from the reduction. I have a special method for taking the smell out of the piece so when you get it and put it in your home, there is no burnt smell. This method also sets the colors to last for many years.
I have four techniques of raku I produce in my line. Each is unique and developed by me. I rotate these four techniques between about 50 to 75 of my over 100 raku shapes. There are 30 or so shapes that are my standards. The plain Copper Matte glaze sprayed over the whole piece is classic. My Copper Matte shows the flame patterns and the velvet surface is vibrant. The Oriental Grass technique is very popular. This one has metallic wistful blades of grass on the Copper Matte background. The Spattered technique is my abstract, modern approach. The random metallic gloss glaze on the Copper Matte is very fresh. Then there is the Sponged technique which I have a lot of fun with. There is so much I can do with this one and I love doing it new ways. I use a large sea wool sponge to make puzzle like patterns of gloss glaze on the Copper Matte background. No matter which is your favorite the neatest thing about raku is no two will ever look the same. Which brings me back to why I love raku so much. I can do the same piece or shape over and over again, but when I pull that lid off the can and look inside, I am always wowed by what I see.
Before I go I would like to mention I do give workshops. My workshops are personal, one on one. I never have more than four and most of the time I do workshops with one or two people. I love showing people how to make beautiful raku. When a person pulls a piece out of a hot kiln, puts it into the reduction can where the fire erupts, and then after the cool down takes it from the can to see the colors they have never been able to get, it is wonderfully rewarding to me.
April 2013 Update: It has been quite awhile since I have added to this page. My two daughters are 23 yrs. and 18 yrs. now. Kelsey is happily married and has two daughters, 3 yrs. and 1 year old. Maddie is a senior in High School about to graduate. She has a scholarship to play Softball in College. My wife Bonnie and I enjoy playing with our grand kids and watching Maddie play Softball.
I have been selling raku through WholesaleCrafts.com since 2006 and have over 100 galleries who carry my work. I have been selling Raku Art for 25 years and have sold over 30,000 pieces of raku. I still love the process and look forward to seeing the colors each and every time.
Thanks for your time,
William K. Turner