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

Lid Tips

Have a resource for quick reference always helps, especially as time becomes more valuable, retention becomes less and less, or you need to share what you’ve learned.

Making lids for pottery jars and containers can demand more attention – some break, some aren’t sized well enough, some don’t pair just right, etc. So tips and resources are well appreciated, regardless.

Tip #1: Make 2 Lids per container

Tip #2: Size and Resize

Tip #3: Measure, Trim, Measure again

Lid Resources

Fat Bottom Girls!

Thick Bottoms

Raku luminaries had a thick beginning! I had to cut a hole on top of three raku pieces and WOW I have more practice to do to get thinner bottoms.

Live and Learn

George Gasoigne

Crazy… Crazy for feeling so crazing

Pondering, mulling, thinking, analyzing, planning, hoping, etc.  Stay with me on this brief venture through exploration & pottery research.

While juggling two clay bodies and exploring my intent for each clay for this year’s creation lots, I ventured down the rabbit hole of researching SLIPS & mason stains in hopes of decorating or enhancing my pieces in a cool new way. During this time my memories included brief mentions from Master Potters Millie (St. John) Schmidt (https://www.ipacny.org/millie-st-john) and Tim See (http://www.timseeceramics.com, https://www.youtube.com/user/timseepots). But I had a twist to include, which was “would mason stains work well on bmix wood clay body for wood-firing“…which I plan to research more of course…

So then I happen to pop over to the issue of CRAZING, which for some reason led my curiosity to body cracking and glaze popping

Do you see how my mind trails? LOL

So today though, I research and find a resting area in the rabbit hole I’m venturing where I exclaim (silently of course), “Ahhh! My college chem courses have just laughed at me!” (see picture below “Figure 2”).  What a good moment for some humor!

Okay, here is the illustration that helped me realize it was time for another cup of coffee:

201903015crazingkaolinite

Body Cracking and Glaze Popping – Kgs.Ku.edu

1 Key Point of this blog vent(uring) is:

Give THANKS for each breath, both in and out.  For each of moment can bless you with #yet-to-be-realized wisdom and love.


Supplemental points include:

Willie Nelson wrote the song, “Crazy”
Patsy Cline sang the song, “Crazy”.

Glazing Techniques Exploration

20190205-3cupsglazing.jpg

Left & Middle Cups = Starry Night Base, Coastal Blue dip 1/2 way down, topped with Cream.
Right Cup = Starry Night Base, Cream dip 1/2 down, topped and 1/2 angle dip of Coastal Blue

20190205-3cupsglazing_finish.jpg

It was a nice exploration of the glaze effects – albeit with the tiny variables of how long it is heated in the kiln, how high the kiln temperature is, and where it sits in the kiln.

I brought the cup on the right to work to test it out – the drinkability (i.e. how it rests on my lips as I drink my coffee, how balanced does a full cup of coffee sit, how do my fingers feel and lay while holding the cup with the handle, etc). I love the smooth roundness of the cup. But I am seeking a more blue effect, a #CosmicBlue effect that reminds me of space, space gas, exploration, evolution, God’s creation, etc.


Recent inspiration came from a Pintrest whereas the middle of the pottery piece had a distinctive band of glaze that was then accentuated by cosmic glaze on the upper and lower parts.  What a fun exploration of glaze play I thought! I wondered how they did it (more than one potter had examples).

BUT at studio I had to hurry hurry to complete my little goal – oooh dear. Not the technique I was hoping to do BUT I got an atypical technique completed.

Here is the current set using a ‘new’ technique – brushed on Coastal Blue in the mid section, dipped in Starry Night on top and bottom – – and then I nearly forgot about the INSIDES! So my Starry Night kind of went all over on 2 pieces for sure. And the last minute cream shower along the rim and the sides….


RESULTS – Part One

Okay so I ended up placing these 4 pieces on pieces of broken shelving JUST IN CASE the glazes ran – and thankfully I did.  Three of the four ran. I thank my fellow Clayscapes Pottery potter friends with oodles of more experience than I for suggesting the shelving bits!

Results – Part Two

Success can be achieved while #Learning!

-Oneida Shark Pottery

Run Run Run. For this attempt I’d give myself a C- for the results. If I choose to explore the mid-section Coastal Blue glaze I may put it on taller pieces, reduce the # of seconds i hold the Starry Night glaze on the bottom and glaze the interior first. I’d give myself an A+ for effort!