The Process

Each of our rattles and ornaments is created here in the J. Davis Studio in Alpine, TX, using clay manufactured locally in Austin at the Armadillo Clay Company. They’ve been our supplier for over 30 years, and their clay makes our entire process completely American-made from start to finish.

While our materials are homespun American, our much-admired pottery technique was invented hundreds of years ago in 16th century Japan. Originally used to create pottery that was graceful and beautiful enough to match the traditional art of the Japanese tea ceremony, which calls for tranquil movements and a presence of great wisdom, harmony, and compassion, Raku creates a delicate, ethereal and otherworldly glaze that becomes a fitting companion for the spiritual uses to which it is put.

Most forms of pottery involve firing the clay in a firing kiln, which slowly cools over time. If the kiln is poorly cooled or the clay does not set properly, the finished product can crack or even explode. For this reason, most pottery is not exposed to the cool air outside the kiln until has cooled on its own.

Raku breaks with this tradition to create its stunning glaze and – quite literally – plays with fire. Raku is created by removing the freshly-baked pottery from the kiln with long-handled tongs, while still glowing red-hot, and quickly placing it inside a metal can lined with combustible locally recycled newspaper, which bursts into flame on contact with the heated pottery.

When this paper ignites, the container is closed quickly to cut off oxygen. The lack of oxygen and the smoke from the burning material react with the special glaze on the pottery, creating a chemical reaction and a one-of-a-kind surface glaze. After a few minutes, the can is popped open and quickly sprayed with a burst of water, which freezes the luminescent colors of cobalt, gold, copper, turquoise, and violet.

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.

This unique process is the core of our ornaments, candlesticks, vases and keepsake boxes – and our innerSpirit Rattles are by far our most beloved creations.

A word about our rattles, our most revered art from our studio: 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.

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.