Linda Spelko’s first exposure to clay was as a freshman in Palmer High School. Her brother told her that pottery was an easy elective, but to Linda, Clay was her friend, always there, waiting willing to bend and move. After high school she raised her family and after 25 years she began her pottery career again. Linda credits her friend and business partner Juliet Bacchas with igniting the spark to broaden her knowledge of glazes and techniques. Linda tends to think with her hands. Her forms are organic, and often have an Asian flair. Although she occasionally designs her pieces prior to throwing, she finds that her best pieces evolve as she works. Her work ranges from the practical to the whimsical, sitting squarely between form and function.
Many of Linda’s forms are fired in the ancient Raku technique. Raku forms are widely collected because of its history and extraordinary beauty. With Raku, pieces are low fired, leaving the pottery porous. Each piece is removed from the hot kiln and placed directly into a cooling barrel containing sawdust, paper and straw/hay. This creates a reduced atmosphere within the barrel which reacts with the glazes, creating spontaneous copper, turquoise and red flashes, as well as magical crackle patterns. Because the spontaneity of the Raku experience Linda’s favorite description of most finished pieces is akin to thinking of Christmas — you never know what you will get, but it’s always a beautiful surprise.