Category Archives: Raku

…..What is it?

Interesting results from the raku firing.  I am definitley getting more adventurous…..  Fantastic swirls of shiny copper from the copper oxide applied on top of the glaze.  The red commercial glaze always produces reliable results, some might find comfort in this consistancy, but I find it dull and uninspiring. It always does exactly what you expect it to……what is the fun in that, hardly the spirit of raku.

Sadly the rim burst off my favourite piece, but casualties are to be expected.  The rim was thicker than the rest of the pot and there must have been an air bubble in the clay when it was made.  Really pleased with the effect of the glaze combination though on the remaining pot (see close up picture above), so will try and replicate this next time.  On consulting with others, had the rim remained in tact, it turns out I am the only one who would have liked it anyway…..fine…..they obviously still need to be enlightened…..

I wonder how many more times I will be asked of my pots…….”what is it?”

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Bank Holiday Raku

Rainy bank holiday Sunday.  Very annoying since it has been beautiful sunshine all week.  Family staying, so thought I would initiate them into the wonderful world of Raku…..

To their total bemusement…….why would you want to set fire to stuff in a dustbin in the garden, when it is raining with a freezing cold wind and there is a roaring fire, pot of tea and Sunday papers indoors.  They are obviously not hooked yet.

Dragged them all out for the main event……still not sure they are convinced….more like, good heavens…what on earth is she up to now!!   Not even convinced when the pots have been scrubbed and cleverly absorbed into any spare cm of windowledge.  Clearly, they are not pyromaniacs…….  may be I should stick to milk jugs (unlikely)……

Pots...pre firing

Lifing the pot from the kiln

Into the sawdust

More sawdust in....quick!

Lid on

Smokefest..... Watch the rhubarb!

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Raku Treasure

Whilst the main kiln firing event was taking place today, decided to do a quick raku firing.  I had six tea bowls at the ready.  The ones that I sandpapered my hands throwing a couple of weeks ago.

Satisfied with the results….sort of.  Of the six pots fired, 3 have made it into the house, 1 has already been given away as a souvenir and 2 have been relegated to the shed.  50% success rate……not bad, but not hosting the tea ceremony yet!

More lessons learnt…….and much fun scrubbing the pots to uncover the treasure beneath….

Ready to go...

Kiln loaded....

Removing glowing pots from the kiln


Pale Yellow this was supposed to be (Uranium substitute glaze)

Accoring to the recipe, these were supposed to be pinky/yellow! Like them though...

Great flash of copper on this tea bowl. Wish I had put more on now, and applied it over and not under the glaze.

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Thursday Morning Raku

Raku firing at West Street Potters on Thursday morning.  Usual elusive colours, breakages and smokefest…but lots of good results.  Of my stuff, the rabbits who’s ears remained intact after the last biscuit firing came out ok, their noses could have been blacker though, and the bowl had lovely crazing on the white glaze.  I like the areas of resist, but the red glaze could have been a bit more punchy…  Found this bowl knocking about the pottery, didn’t even realise it was one mine, so the fact that it is now has the privilage of sitting on the coffee table is remarkable.

White Rabbits, the ones that still have their ears.

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Raku in the snow

Nothing like leaving Christmas presents to the last minute…… this age old tradition left me with no option but to attempt my first raku firing in the snow….and later in the dark too. Worked out brilliantly though which is more than I can say for the results….the pots could be cooled straight from the smoky dustbin by launching them into the snow. They make a very satisfying hissing noises as they hit the white carpet. Raku is always temperamental, that is the fun of it, and you have to take the rough with smooth. One of the more pleasing pieces welded itself to the kiln shelf, which unfortunately meant its intended use as as a tree decoration was a little improbable, or at least you would need much bigger tree than the one we have this year. Dad’s present was a resounding success, or one pot was a resounding success and now it is Dad’s present. The elusive turquoise glaze was again nowhere to be found and the fantastic copper colour achieved last time only put in a scant appearance. The raku kiln fairy knew the offerings were presents and I had used up my last ‘leave it to the last minute’ life on a previous batch of wedding presents.

Wafting about in the air.....looking for turquoise!

Smoking - this picture just misses the point where I nearly lost my eyebrows

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Raku – A beginners guide…. July 2009

We got up early on Wednesday 29th July… was a Raku firing day! It was forecast to rain in the afternoon and there was quite a queue of pots ready to be fired. It is possible to raku in the rain….but it’s not as much fun. A raku firing is more of an event, there is lots to do, lots of anticipation and lots and lots of smoke. Two of the pots to be fired were wedding presents and having left making them until the last minute (one week before the wedding) there was also a bit of pressure for them turn out well.

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