Paul Soldner was born on April 24, 1921 in Summerfield, Illinois, and passed away on January 3rd, 2011. Soldner was an American ceramic artist who experimented with the Japanese technique called raku. He was responsible for mixing both cultures and creating a fusion of techniques which he added to such as methods of firing and post firing. Raku ware is essentially a type of Japanese pottery that was used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. They are characterized by being hand-shaped and they are made from low firing temperatures, lead glazes and they remove the pieces from the kiln while they are still hot, which shocks the pieces. Then Soldner developed the technique of placing the pieces in a container filled with combustible material making the practice contemporary as well. Soldner also added color by reduction smoking to the pieces. Then dipped into either cold water to create an oxidized effect and the effects can be quite spontaneous.
In the spirit of raku, there is the necessity to embrace the element of surprise. There can be no fear of losing what was once planned and there must be an urge to grow along with the discover of the unknown.