Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Raku


We learned to make raku pottery several years ago. A lot of what we make is wheel thrown, but here I used a cast iron cornbread pan to mold these fish that will be outfitted with hardware to use as drawer pulls. (I think the copper hues are yummy compared to how my cornbread turned out prior to my conversion of this pan.) These pieces have been fired to 2000 degrees F. (definitely not recommended for cornbread). Then we carefully remove them from the fire with long handled tongs and asbestos gloves and put them into a garbage can. Next we throw combustible material over them, i.e. leaves or sawdust, wherein a good sized whoosh of flame ignites and after a several moments of burn, we close the lid on the garbage can which puts them into a state of reduction. This oxygen starvation along with the raku glaze will produce the exciting coppery flashes and luster raku is known for. If this weren't enough excitement, after about 30 minutes we open the lid and again using the long handled tongs, reach in to retrieve our smoking gems and plunge them into a cold water bath. The thermal shock is tremendous, but we have learned to use a special clay with a kyanite additive that helps protect them from major breakage or downright blowup.



1 comment:

Jo (Pieceful Afternoon) said...

Those fish are wonderful! What a process they go through!