Pat Armstrong discovered an affinity with clay and the wheel during an Arts Foundation Course at Tresham College in Kettering she then went onto the Sunderland Polytechnic School of Art and Design to pass a 3D Design BA(Hons) Course in Glass with Ceramics, winning the 1990 Charlie Bray Award for the best over all performance in Glass and Ceramics.
Raku is a Japanese technique of glaze firing closely linked to the Tea Ceremony. It involves removing the glazed pot from the kiln when the glaze is molten (around 900 degrees centigrade). The glazed pot is then put into a reduction chamber (usually an oil drum or galvanised bucket) and covered with sawdust. This action gives the typical black crackle caused because the glaze cools quickly and shrinks, the sawdust catches fire and the smoke marks the pot along the line of the crackle.
Copper fuming is achieved by the application of a 90% copper oxide and 10% glaze mixture onto the surface of the pot, which is then fired in the normal Raku way. This gives beautiful vibrant colours and a velvet textured finish. It is notoriously difficult to control.