Friday, January 1, 2010

Raku in the Snow

A perfect day to raku!

For several months now I have been itchin' to capture a snowflake in my glaze via the raku method. Having been so busy with Christmas fairs and general holiday orders left me without an acceptable vessel to try this "snowflake" method once it actually started snowing.

Prepping the kiln

Although I knew that my stoneware vessel would probably meet it's end during the process I proceeded on just for curiosity's sake. I figured the experience of doing raku (with an electric kiln) in the snow was worth the trouble. When I have an acceptable vessel later on I'll be used to the snow and know what further precautions to take.

Everything went well with the actual firing. The snow wasn't too harsh, but rather just right and it didn't get my kiln too wet. I was worried about that aspect. Firing time was normal despite the colder temperatures outside and my glaze came to a nice molten stage without any hitches. Unfortunately, as suspected, the vessel itself (stoneware) didn't survive the thermal shock and it broke in midair practically. I also seemed to have lost my glaze, but I blame that on sub quality raku glaze I purchased (and placed on the vessel). I have my favorite glazes from my favorite companies and from here on out wlll only use those since the others are truly a waste of time.

Waiting for the glaze to melt


Overall it was a good learning experience. I feel mentally ready for the next snowfall and will try to make a few small pieces out of raku clay. That clay can really handle the thermal shock. So my quest to capture a snowflake goes on.

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