Heidi Trautmann

942: RakuWorkshop @ Cyprus Ilim University Ozanköy

By Heidi Trautmann

An animated atmosphere reigned on the wide terrace behind the Ilim University Girne/Ozanköy, experimental mood among the guests and participants of the Naked Raku Workshop led by Şirin Koçak.

Ceramic art is a wide field, from pottery to sculpting; different kinds and compositions of clay, its use depending on what one wants to do, different techniques in glazing and firing, and it is about the firing and the pre- and post-processing of the ware in the workshop. It is called:

Naked raku technique …. it gets its racy name because during the process of firing, the outer shell of slip that was applied falls off revealing the “naked” surface of the pot, plate or any other form underneath.

Şirin Koçak had explained this very special technique to the participants and under her guidance the work was done on forms she had brought with her. The decorated forms – paper tape was used to decorate the forms, scratching and cutting – were then covered with slip, that is liquid white clay plus some other ingredients and placed in the gas-fired kiln. The firing itself at about 900°C did not take longer than 30 minutes I was told.

When the lid was opened, the participants came all together curious to see what came out of the heat. With long tongs the ware was taken out, what a heat, and dipped into cold water, then covered with wood chips. The ‘black shell’ fell off and/or was removed and the ‘naked surface’ is revealed. Looks like craquelé, very precious.

The following link is the facebook site of Şirin Koçak.



On Saturday, at 11:00 hrs you will be able to see the finished pieces at the same place.

….to continue:


The exhibition of the ‘Naked RAKU Technique’ on Saturday morning at the Ilim University October 14, 2017:


I came early to have room for taking pictures and met the 18 participants doing last arrangements of their art works; they were all very satisfied with the results and it all looked very beautiful and interesting. I spoke to Şirin Koçak who has been working with many workshops of this kind on an international basis as you can read in her biography under the link above. It is to admire that within one and a half days such terrific results could be achieved and on top of that arrange an exhibition. All hands had helped together, also people from the University, headed by the rector Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bülend Göksel, who was present during the workshop most of the time and had a try himself. 30 kg of slip was produced and used and altogether 19 loads in the gas fired kiln were done in this short time, considering that one firing process took about 30 minutes, however with unloading and reloading it was double the time. Luckily they had two kilns that could be used.

The workshop was initiated by the North Cyprus Ceramists’ Association in order to continue to inform as they have done for the last 20 years, to teach and to practice techniques and to promote ceramic art in general.


Nergül Gezer Dündar, one of the participants opened the exhibition with a resumé on the work done and concluded with thanks to the leader of the workshop Şirin Koçak, to the Rector of the Ilim University and the participants – their names you can read on the poster.

The Rector Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bülend Göksel finally opened the exhibition and helped distributing - together with Ülviye Percinci Oksu - the certificates of participation. The exhibition ended with much laughter, selfies and group photos to have something to remember.

My compliments to this well done workshop and to the results. 

The Leader of the workshop and the Rector of the University
The Leader of the workshop and the Rector of the University

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