Raku Evolution

Heartfelt pottery creations – that is my basis.

After a recent class at the Clayscapes Pottery studio that focused on Alternative Firing methods I was keen on doing some more Raku, specifically Horsehair pieces.

In the process of getting ready to do my own Raku (a service provided by Clayscapes Pottery) I realized my advancement in Raku pottery research actually expanded to more appreciation for glaze recipes as I noted the ‘Copper Matte‘ options (see below):

Here is a run down of my pre-raku items of note:

  • Clay forms:
    • No thin necks (hard to grasp with the tongs)
    • No tall slender objects (may fall over easily in the ‘reduction’ phase)
    • Lids are fired in the kiln separately so this takes up space on the kiln shelf. Note: Andrew from Clayscapes Pottery says he has a method of firing lids so they don’t crack on the shelf – I’ll keep you updated with this helpful hint
  • Burnishing is fun and meditative (on greenware) & is necessary if applying Terra Sig (for Horsehair prep)
  • Bisque Fire
  • Horsehair or Glaze
    • Horsehair – thicker hair is better. Good to have a friend with horses. Being grateful for this helps add another dimension of “Heartfelt Pottery”.
    • Glaze
      • Glazing the inside – Question: is this feasible? If so, is this solely to help retain liquids? Otherwise I’d think I won’t use interior glaze as the Raku technique produces a porous piece (i.e. not ‘functional’). Most of the pieces I am looking to create are to serve as a storage container for things that don’t need air-tightness or fluid retention. Talking about this with a potential customer is a must!
      • Copper Matte – ooooh nice, and then sealing undefined
  • Raku Kiln Firing
    • Making an adequate number of pieces is important to me – I don’t want to create too little and waste time at the kiln or my money spent renting the kiln firing. I guess making too much isn’t a bad thing as I could always do another firing!
      • The kiln shelf is 18″ (254.5 square inches), so 1/4 area of the shelf is 9″ x 9″ x ?? – however I think I could fit 2 max 5″ wide pieces w/their lids, in each 1/4 panel area without overcrowding (and without making the maneuvering with the tongs a challenge). The total for the shelf would then be 4 lidded piece + 1 piece without a lid place in the center, for a total of 5 pieces per load. And since the minimum # of load is 2 per firing, then we’re looking at a max of 10.
      • One way to find out is draw or print out an 18″ circle.
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    • Working with the Raku Kiln firing facilitator about the choreography of us ‘dancing’ around & doing steps so we don’t bump into each other or let a pot not get the horsehair or reduction treatment in a timely temperature fashion.
    • Equipment:
      • Heat-resistant gloves
      • Scrub Brush to clean pieces after the firing
      • Clothes: Long sleeved shirt, closed-toe footwear, no polyester clothing
      • Horsehair
        • Tongs
        • Pan with Sand – to lay horsehair down and roll the piece (if desired)
      • Regular Raku
        • Combustibles? I don’t know yet if I need to bring my own Sawdust and newspaper, which are popular combustibles
        • Sealant to help keep the colors from fading, after cleaning pieces

DIY Making A Raku Kiln – courtesy of The Ceramic School

Great webpage with an overview of Raku: https://www.rakudays.co.uk/tips-for-raku

The 7 Tools You’ll Need You’ll Need for Raku Firing

Wood-fire & Raku Pottery

It’s so heartwarming to me that my heart warms when I think of the whole process of creating wood-fired pottery. In addition, I’ve tasked myself with doing some RAKU pottery, mainly because of the mystery of the results, experience from a recent alternate-firing class at Clayscapes Pottery, but also because a cool friend gave me some horsehair so I could do some Horsehair pottery!


Horsehair Raku Pottery Inspirations


It’s 2020 and life threw me some lemons, so I’ve been making lemonade but my mind daydreams often of making pottery.

See the source image

Raku Pottery Kiln

The first few months of this year has been focused on PREPARING to do a RAKU session – figuring out how many pieces to make to maximize the my first full raku session (2 kiln firings), then creating, burnishing, bisquing, etc. During this time doing research on the RAKU process and options – what materials to purchase (tongs, gloves, sand, turnstyle, glazes, etc), what glaze options for non-horsehair pieces, getting feathers, etc. During this time also thinking of learning enough to try doing my own RAKU with a DIY kiln or outright purchase of a RAKU kiln. Time will tell.

UPDATE! 07/01/2020

A friend gifted me with an old electric kiln. I plan to convert to a Raku kiln! Grateful and honored be I ❤

Currently I purchased a burner, a pyrometer, ceramic fiber board (to be used with the deteriorating lid, maybe), a drill bit to make a burner hole. Next is to remove the elements, fill in any soft firebrick gaps, make holes (burner, flue) and buy a couple propane tanks and fuel.

Next is to build a small wood ramp to get the kiln outside and then fashion a sandpit area where I will do the reduction using upside down metal cans!

Upside Down Cans via Artifacts By Design

Of course I’ll have the usual trash can with combustible materials on hand to give that a try too!

Ammunition Cases with Wood Shavings via Upwey Potters

Raku firing - covering the pottery pieces in sawdust and paper and a can.
Ceramics: It’s Just Dirt


Wood-fired Pottery Musing

The next phase of my daydreaming is creating pieces for this year’s woodfiring! I love doing mugs and lidded jars for this. 30 pieces is a goal, 40 pieces is a bonus, and 50 pieces would be a hoot!

  • Nice web posting regarding the wood-fire process, the basics, the job duties, the spirit of, etc: Monroe Clay Works

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So while I drink lemonade from life’s lemons I allow myself to giggle inside like a little kid, at the thoughts of doing these 2 kiln firings: RAKU and Woodfire.


Right now I won’t over analyze why I have giggle-ness, I’m just allowing myself to enjoy it.


See the source image
https://pin.it/6f8YDJh

Horsehair Raku Pottery #Appreciation visit @Oneidasharkpottery

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Calling all Potters!

The Clayscapes Pottery Market is accepting applications for their event that will be held in October 2020 near Syracuse, NY.

Clayscapes Pottery is doing it again!

If you’re a potter you may want to consider submitting an application to Clayscapes Pottery by the deadline of April 30, 2020.

  • Where: Dewitt, NY – near Syracuse, NY
  • When: October 3, 2020 – October 4, 2020