“The stretch of clay around volume,
the containment of heart,
of soul, of mind and body,
intended to provoke”.
ROMBERG AND RAKU
"Jim Romberg has been working with Raku ceramics for over forty years. An M.F.A. graduate in ceramics from Claremont Graduate University. Jim is well known to collectors and academics for his outstanding and progressive work in sculptural ceramics."
Experimenting with many ceramic processes at the beginning of my career in art, I chose Raku because of its significant history, begun in 16th century Japan, its well developed and documented aesthetics, and its contemporary use as a means for artistic expression. Recently an expansion of scale has resulted in monumental pieces that present an even more dramatic arena for the spirit of Raku.
My work is an interplay of sculpture and painting, using the particular characteristics of Raku in a unique way. Rather than leaving the effects to the whims of natural reduction, my process is a deliberate interruption, often described as "painting with smoke and fire", to add a dimension of color, depth and surface that engages on many levels. The practice and discipline of forming clay, applying surface treatments that reflect the complexity of brushwork, and individually firing and "smoke treating" each object results in pieces that I hope capture the beauty of nature’s interaction with the intention of the hand.
Events of landscape and sky remain a constant inspiration, along with the human history of creation starting with the pre-historic cave paintings in France which I visited and studied.
My study and appreciation of the origins of Raku ceramics centered around the development of the Tea Ceremony and tea vessels brings a particular contemporary interpretation of Eastern aesthetics and philosophy into my work. The result is a vital expression of an ancient art form "brought up-to-date" to invite contemplation that speaks to us today of the excitement of the creative imagination.