Sparks fly as sawdust is tossed on a hot pot. The heat of the fire reacts with the clay minerals and metal elements of the glaze to create a crackling effect.
Raku Crew: Mary, Sharon, Judy, Peter, Maxine (and me).
Raku firing is exciting!
There’s an extremely hot kiln, orange-glowing earthenware, combustible sawdust and straw and surprise results. The process is illustrated in my two previous posts, Red Hot Raku and Raku Reaction.
Peter Syak, our amazing instructor, mixes his own glazes. He knows how much exposure to air–or not, how much sawdust to add–or not, and how long to keep pots covered–or not, is required to get the amount of crackling, luster and intense color desired. Still, oxygen, heat, or a pause in placement of buckets all contribute to the outcome.
The earthenware’s temperature drops as it sits under the metal buckets. The reaction process stops when each piece is quenched in a trashcan filled with water. Soot is scrubbed off, pieces are cleaned, and we “ooh and ahh” at the results.
Have you heard of Horse-Hair Raku? I hadn’t either. Instead of placing a red-hot pot in a reduction chamber (ie. metal buckets with combustible material), its decorated by touching horse hairs to the the 1800 degree clay surface. The hair ignites, creating dark grey lines and smudges. Similarly, sugar sprinkled on the burning surface reacts with the clay. Take a look!
Maxine touching individual horse hairs to her burning hot pot.
Sugar sprinkled on the pot creates texture and unexpected spots.
Three of my pieces.
Maxine’s wheel-thown vases. Isn’t the crackling cool?
My “button vase” with a happy goat and flower stamps as “buttons.”
Judy’s tea box with a piece of driftwood that she’ll attach to the top.
Hon, have you every tried raku? What did you create?