I just finished a wonderful workshop given by master ceramicist, Peter Syak. He instructed more and less experienced (umm, that would be me) students how to create vases, plates, boxes and sculptures, and how to fire them in a raku kiln.
According to Wikipedia, Raku originated in Japan and is “thick-walled, rough, lead-glazed earthenware.” Raku means “enjoyment, comfort and ease.” The workshop was definitely enjoyable, but as for comfort, I smelled like a smokestack at the end of the day. As for ease, I’m not so sure. If it weren’t for Peter’s engineering-background and careful attention to detail and safety, we might have glowed orange like our pots after baking in 1800 degrees Fahrenheit!
Over four weeks, we hand-built with raku clay and painted with glaze. Peter bisque-fired our greenware.
I couldn’t wait to take part in a raku firing. Hon, hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed the process!
A propane tank feeds gas into the kiln. Our pieces are already inside, baking as the Pyrometer tells us when the temperature has reached about 1600 degrees F.
Red Hot Raku!