Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Raku Firing!

Just in case you were wondering what I've been up too................

I've been working in the ceramics studio an awful lot lately working on various projects. Mostly just playing around with clay. This semester I took on an internship working with my ceramics Professor and learning the different aspects of a ceramic studio. One of the things that I've been working on is firing pieces in our small kilns here (pictured above). This is the initial firing for all of the pottery made here. It's called a bisque firing. After this firing we glaze the pieces and fire them a second time in a much larger kiln where they're fired at a higher temperature. After that firing the pieces are complete.

One of the new firing techniques I've been taught is Raku firing. This technique is where you have a bisqued piece of pottery with a special glaze on it specifically for Raku and we then fire it in a different kiln outside for about 45 minutes at very high temperatures as you can see below.

Now I don't know all of the technicalities of it all but the basics are that we take the pottery out of the kiln while it's still orange and put in inside a garbage can filled with sawdust.

After placing the pottery in the garbage can we throw a few fistfuls of sawdust on top of the red hot pieces and cover them up so they can burn some more (you can see me in the picture below getting ready to throw the sawdust on top of the pieces once placed in the garbage can).

After letting the smoke and fire die down for about 10-15 minutes in the garbage can we take them out and dunk them in water.

This type of firing is very unpredictable but so much fun and has some amazing effects when finished. There's lots of different glazes and the two cups below are Copper Penny. Very glossy and iridescent in some places.

The cylinder below was glazed with Gun Metal Black. Very cool! I think I'm going to try this on a few of my pieces. It's not very practical or functional but it's so much fun to do and the outcomes are quite stunning (most of the time).

For now though I have quite a bit of glazing to do for the regular glaze kiln. A lot of these pieces are going to be Christmas gifts and contributions to a Craft Sale that I'm helping to coordinate at school.

Back to glazing!

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