François Bernatchez

Raku is a firing process originating in sixteenth century Japan.

After the clay sculpture is dried and fired a first time, it is then enameled with different products and oxides before being reheated to more than 1700 degrees F.

Hot out of the kiln, it’s then placed in a fuel container that immediately bursts into flame.

It’s the random mix of flames and air that transforms the glazes into various colors, including metallic ones that change depending on the lighting or the viewing angle. Fire can be just as creative as the craftsman!

After a few seconds in the flames, the container is sealed, depriving the fire of further oxygen. Smoke then impregnates the unglazed parts.

I create spontaneously, but with aforethought, following a guiding concept, then letting my hands, the earth and my eyes take over. I start from an idea, an image, a form or a theme. I like to distort, carve, lengthen, model, alter, shape, texturize and assemble, challenging certain conventions, all in order to surprise the viewer studying my work.

My creations are sculptural, decorative, organic and animal.

I like to work with fire, love its smell, preferring to believe I control it and then, when it gives me back my pieces draped in beautiful sparkling or matte colours, I give it thanks.

A self-taught artist, I perfected my knowledge in the United States, following several courses focused on control and color development.

My pieces are unique and are signed Etche, in memory of my Basque ancestor: Jean Baptiste Barnetche, the first of the lineage who emigrated to Canada in 1720.