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.
      • undefined
    • 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

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