Fire and Fusion

Robert Franklin’s current exhibition at Hullabaloo is an exploration of form and texture, under the title “Fire and Fusion”.

Robert is a member of the Hullabaloo Collective.

He had a long career in banking and finance in Dunedin, before moving to Bannockburn with his wife Natalie.

He was a part-time studio potter for a decade in the 1970’s, supplying several retail outlets.

His decision to return to the pottery wheel in recent years has released dramatic results.

A visit to the village of Mashiko, Japan, the home of the late potter Shoji Hamada increased his interest in and knowledge of Japanese and Chinese early ceramics, and this exhibition is strongly influenced by them.

Robert has produced saggar-fired forms for this exhibition, and the silky, polished finish is extraordinary, and begs to be touched.

Saggar is the ancient technique of making pots, burnishing them, firing each pot within another clay chamber and using available combustible materials between the saggar and the piece.

Robert uses natural ingredients which could be banana skins, seaweed or even coffee grounds. All vaporise to give different fuming effects.

There is no glaze used and the effects are completely the result of the fire.

When the kiln has cooled, the highly burnished piece is removed, then cleaned and polished.

Robert says, “My work is an expression of form, finish and texture, more of the fire and less of the glaze.

I am not constrained by the demands of production but more by what flows from the hands on the day.”

Besides exhibiting in Hullabaloo, Robert has been guest Ceramicist at the Wanaka, Waikaia and Balclutha Art Society exhibitions, had pieces chosen for the NZ Potters Society Annual Exhibition, and in the 2019 Arrowtown Autumn Exhibition he was awarded the Premier Applied Art Award.

“Fire and Fusion” Exhibition is on at Hullabaloo Art Space until 30 October.

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