Past Exhibition

What is Obvara?

November 10–28, 2014

The Story of Obvara (Ab-Vara)

Obvara is a 19th-20th century Belarussian technique involving scalding the finish on the pottery to seal the porous surface.

Similar to the raku process, a bisqued pot is heated, in this case to 1650°F (899°C) and removed from the heat. The pieces must be made from a clay that can withstand thermal shock very well, such as a raku body or a stoneware with grog. ┬áThe difference is that the pot is then dipped into a specific Obvara yeast mixture before being quenched in water to rapidly cool the piece. The pieces range from off-white to almost black with speckles. The effects are quite stunning.

The Recipe:
Mix 2.6 gallons of warm water with 2.2 pounds of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 2 packets of yeast. Allow the mixture to ferment for about 3 days, stirring frequently.