Raku pottery, the ceremonial tea ware made for Zen Buddhist Masters of the 16th, is valued for simplicity and beauty. Today the Art of Raku occupies present ceramic style in stunning, awe-inspiring, and insightful ways through the work of master ceramist Myron Whitaker. Born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Myron credits his mother as his first “influencer" in the realm of a solid work ethic. When it came to firing up his creative spirit, Myron acknowledges two of his high school Art teachers, Martha Foster and Brenda Hardin for their creativity and ability to inspire their students to push the limits with their art.
Myron's high school ceramics classes were the foundation of a lifelong passion for clay. He continued his creative development by attending classes focused on advanced techniques and processes of pottery production after graduation. Myron also accepted employment with Freightliner during this time, building eighteen-wheelers to support his young family. After 15 years in the corporate world of trucking, Myron, at age 44, returned to school at Montgomery Community College in Troy, North Carolina and the encouragement of one of his former teachers, he discovered he had never lost his passion or gift for ceramics.
Several years ago, a friend suggested Myron participate in the Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, Arizona. He filed an application, he describes it, “To my surprise, I was accepted, so it was off to Scottsdale from January through March.” Myron’s reputation
as a unique ceramicist grew to the point a few years later, he joined the Sonoran Arts League in Cave Creek, Arizona resulting in participating in the Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour. As a result, he now maintains two ceramic studios, one in North Carolina and one in Arizona, where he spends approximately six months a year working in one or the other.
“It is said that if we remain alert to ourselves, in examining the Raku form, we will recognize our spirit and meaning."
Myron’s work is in the traditional spirit of the Raku process. The clean lines in Nature spark his inspiration. Images such as the edge of a leaf or the branch of a tree. The jewel tones of the Southwest sunsets often reflect in his glazes.
In the ancient tradition of Raku, it's believed the maker's spirit is also incorporated into the shape completing its inclusive and organic process. Evidence of this is present in Myron's designs. He includes rare stones, fossils, cactus spines, and other unique, organic objects in forming unexpected compositional shapes from the local environment. The technique has earned him loyal and enthusiastic collectors across the country. Steven Forbes-de-Soule, commenting on the History of Raku, states, “It is said that if we remain alert to ourselves, in examining the Raku form, we will recognize our spirit and meaning." Perhaps this will be your experience with this ancient art form through the work of ceramicist Myron Whitaker.