Don Ellis has a B.S. Degree from McMurry University In Abilene, Texas and received his M.F.A. Degree from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas in 1985. ‘I find great joy in working with clay. It has evolved into a fascination and a livelihood. A pot is an extension of the person creating it, it becomes a part of him.’ While pursuing his studies at North Texas State University he got a taste of the Raku firing process and has been fascinated with it ever since. Now, years later, he strives for pieces that have a timeless quality, that promote the feeling of the raw texture of the clay, and are powerful in a way that draw you to them more and more. Don Ellis lives and works hi the beautiful mountains of southern New Mexico.
Raku, simply put, Is the rapid firing at a tow temperature of a porous, tow bisque-fired piece of pottery. Raku pottery was originated in Japan early in the 16th century by Chojiro, the son of a Korean tite maker. Chojiro was hired by Sen-no Rikyu, Japan’s most famous Tea Master, to produce ceremonial bowls for the Tea Ceremony. This traditional ceremony was, and still is, bound with Buddhist philosophy and incorporated the Zen aesthetic of humility and naturalness. Raku tea bowls became an intrinsic part of the ceremony and were as highly regarded as a drawing, a poem, or any other form of art. Chojiro became famous, and his master bestowed the name Raku on Chojiro and his descendants. The symbol for Raku, freely translated, means enjoyment, contentment, pleasure, and happiness.