In my previous post, Red Hot Raku (Raku Workshop, Part 1), the kiln was king. You can bet we listened carefully when our amazing instructor, Peter Syak, guided us through the reduction process! Even so, when we were on “bucket brigade” and handled our pieces just transferred from the kiln, the heat seeped right through our extra-thick, fire-retardent gloves. I had to rip the gloves off and fan my fingers!
Guess what happens when ANYTHING touches a surface that’s 1800 degrees F? It bursts into flames!
Here are some pictures of the process. Hon, stand back from the fire…unless you’re on “bucket brigade.”
Our earthenware is set in the sawdust bed and covered with metal buckets filled part-way with straw.
“Aluminum containers act as reduction tubes. Reduction is a decrease in oxidation number. Closing the can reduces the oxygen content after the combustible materials such as sawdust catch fire and forces the reaction to pull oxygen from the glazes and clay minerals. Luster gets its color from deprivation of oxygen. The reaction between the oxygen and clay minerals affects the color of the clay and the metal elements of the glaze.” (Wikipedia)
What happens next?