Monday, July 02, 2007

raku firing

Also while in NC, I helped my Dad do a raku pottery firing. He wanted to test out some glazes, and I was interested in learning about the process. He has a makeshift raku kiln which we set up in the driveway. I decided to document the process and thought it would be interesting to share here...

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1. The kiln, made from flame-resistant wadding and wire; 2. Dad sets up a propane tank with a hose to feed the fire into the kiln; 3. The kiln with lid and hose; 4. Ceramic pieces are set up on the kiln bricks for firing; 5. The flames starting up; 6. The pieces stay in the kiln until they start to glow fiery-red; 7. The fired pieces are dumped into a tray of sawdust and newsprint and covered with a bucket to exhaust the oxygen; 8. The heat from the ceramics immediately catches the newsprint/sawdust on fire; 9. must use tongs!

I think Dad is partial to the iridescent colors that can happen with raku, like copper and teal and fuchsia. I really like the rusted, oxidized look. My favorite glaze is below:

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One of the ceramic pieces before and after firing. Some of the glaze exploded off the piece while firing on the upper right, there, but the colors came out really nice.

It's easy to see how people can become addicted to pottery. You never know what you'll come out with; especially with Raku. It all depends on how much air gets to the piece, what it's covered in (newsprint, sawdust, etc.), and how fast you can cool it down and stop the process.

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A close-up of the raku glaze.

I think it's a good lesson to have to let go of a certain level of control and hope for a happy accident.


  1. YAY Raku.... I miss you so.......
    (le sigh)
    I love the smell! ;)