Our Process

Each of our rattles and ornaments is created here in the J. Davis Studio in Alpine, TX, using clay made in Austin so our entire process is completely American-made from start to finish.

While our materials are homespun American, our much-admired raku pottery technique was developed in 16th century Japan. Originally used to create pottery graceful and beautiful enough to match the traditional art of the Japanese tea ceremony. The tranquil movements and slow pace of the ceremony are considered a form of meditation. Calling for attainment of harmony, great wisdom and compassion, the ritual is very spiritual.

Enjoyment or Ease is the literal translation of the word Raku in Japanese.

The Raku firing is a very hands-on process. The pottery is light, delicate, and feels earthy to the touch.

Raku ware is removed from the kiln with long-handled tongs while still glowing red-hot, and quickly placed inside a metal can with a combustible material. J. Davis Studio uses locally recycled newspapers.

After the paper ignites, the container is closed tightly which causes a reduction of air. The lack of oxygen and smoke react with the glaze creating an unpredictable one-of-a-kind surface. When the can has cooled for a few minutes, the lid is opened and a burst of water is sprayed on the pieces to quickly freeze the luminescent colors.

Living in Far West Texas all his life has had a profound effect on John Davis’ pottery. The rugged beauty and history of the peaceful Big Bend region helped inspire John’s raku line. Inspiration comes from both the mountainous beauty, and the rich history associated with the area.

Even though the raku firing process originated in Japan, the rustic look creates the essence of an ancient civilization, like an artifact unearthed from a primitive Indian camp ground around the Rio Grande riverbed.

As you might imagine, the process is extremely delicate, and only experienced craftsman can consistently turn out flawless pottery. Even so, the intense thermal shock means that many pieces will still break – and every piece that survives the fire is an extraordinary treasure of great beauty and resilience.

Each rattle has, quite literally, been through trial by fire, so even as you admire their delicate beauty, remember that within the fragile surface lies a deep ability to endure.

Many raku pieces break during the thermal shock treatment, so each surviving raku ware is truly a treasure to be cherished. In this way, we think our rattles are much like the people who choose to carry them. Fragile without, but with an inner core that withstands even the greatest of life’s challenges. We hope each rattle reminds you of your fire within.