Monday, July 6, 2009

My Raku Adventure

Getting a little fresh air

We've had gloriously sunny weather. It's been a rejuvenating change from a month's worth of rain. Sun as far as the eye can see on the weather report meant I was trying out this "raku" stuff at some point. That point was this weekend. I lugged my little kiln out (can you see how very little it is now?) and proceeded to fire up a small porcelain tea light (which wasn't very well made anyway, but he made the perfect test vessel) in the raku method.

Brave little vessel

Fire on high for an hour or so. Check! Then rip the piece out and submerge in paper. Check! But, not letting it stay in the reduction chamber long enough was a mistake. I believe I would have gotten better results if I left this vessel in longer. I will say though that I love the whole smokey look and the burning that appeared near the bottom. That captivated me. It is haphazard and beautiful at the same time. Of course, I had to try it again:


...and had little success AND a huge mess to clean up in my kiln. I'm rather glad this vessel shattered though. It didn't just "pop" it exploded everywhere and in bits so small it made for a lengthy clean up job and it prompted more research.

I had been searching and buying books for a while on raku and had always hoped to use my little kiln to do it in and not one article or book had mentioned any ill about using the electric kiln. Of course, last night I did finally find some ill reports and the main issue is that my elements could go bad and go downhill rather quickly if I keep this raku stuff up. I certainly don't want that because "Starbuck" here, although small, still needs to work for me on bisques and glazing and work for a long time doing this, even if a new kiln arrives one day.

So, I cleaned her up and had faith that this one shot raku try didn't harm her, after all, the only way I can even look at a witness cone is to open the lid and expose the elements to a few seconds of air. The use of the electric kiln was easy. Cart it out, pop it on high for an hour and you are doing raku! So, I looked online for more info and maybe a kiln that could handle such an operation and I happened upon this:

I am SO into this!

SOOOO, into this and the darned thing even LOOKS amazing in their garden!!! HOT DOG! So up my alley and DOUBLE DOG....I have a garden! :) It looks like they are putting glaze on the greenware. I know some methods out there require such techniques. My head is whirling. What fun! What an adventure! What a huge amount of wares they got into that kiln! So, I'm off on another adventure for certain!!! And TRIPLE DOG.... I am so glad I have been doing this work out since the middle of April: Chalean Extreme, cause I am truly now ready to dig a hole. (BTW, this circuit training workout is amazing! I can't sing it's praises enough and I have lost a ton of inches and am building muscle. Strong get strong with this one.)

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