Andrew Berends has a been a potter since 1976. He received a B.F.A. from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Upon graduating, he traveled through Spain, working with traditional folk potters.
In 1986, he received an M.F.A. from Montana State University at Bozeman , then went on to be an artist in residence at Anderson ranch Art Center, Snowmass, Colorado.
He now lives in Springfield, VT, where he extablished his studio in the woods. His work has been shown in galleries throughout the United States.
Raku is a sixteenth century Japanese firing process originally intended to produce ceremonial tea ware.
It involves firing a piece to 1850 degrees, pulling it out of the kiln with tongs, then placing it in combustibles such as straw or sawdust.
A cover is placed over the glowing piece, forcing the fire to smolder and engulf it with smoke. This smoke changes the chemical composition of the galzes by creating a "reducing" enviroment. This "reduction" changes, copper glaze from green to metallic red, while turning any bare clay jet black.
On non-metallic glazes, a crackle effect is created when a piece is pulled from the hot kiln into the cold air, causing the glaze to shiver and crackle. As smoke penetrates the piece it enters the tiny array of cracks turning them black. Because of the unique Raku process, no two pieces will be the same.