As some of you know I have a side hobby, sure travel is my favorite thing to do, but man can’t live on airplanes alone. I also love to make pottery. I do all of my work on an electric kiln at a city run art studio, and have taken classes off and on since 2006. I really focus on function pieces, bowls, mugs, plates and the like. I have lots of other things in my head that I’d like to make, but between other time commitments and the sheer difficulty of learning and making new things I have not come close to becoming half way decent at making much else.
One of the fun parts of the term is the last day, because we get to do a Raku firing. Raku is an ancient form of glazing that uses special glazes, a medium temperature kiln (if you can call 1800 degrees F) medium and combustibles. There are a few differences between Raku and high fire glazing. With Raku the pots are not waterproof, food or oven safe. But you get a product that has different glazes, chemical reactions to the glazes and combustibles you burn the pot in after the 30-45 minute firing process. In high fire kiln the firing process lasts about two days, so as you can see the completion time is much quicker.
When people Raku it’s an awesome sight, between the super-hot kiln, to the glowing red pots to the campfire like process of the chemical reaction to the combustibles. People use anything from paper, to pine needles to horsehair as their combustibles. It’s just a cool sight to watch. It’s very primal.
Although this round I didn’t have anything to Raku, it was still fun to see what others did, and get a chance to enjoy the firing process and the grand unveiling of the superhot kiln and the finished treasures.