The beautiful colors once obtained with our copper matte raku glaze eluded us in the last few firings we did before winter weather set in. Then, in the first firing of the spring, we were blessed with these:
We fired, glazed and reduced the same way we always have. Same glaze we used last fall, not a new batch. Who knows? Maybe the wind was just blowing the right way this time. Regardless, this was a nice start to the 2014 raku firing season.
Last weekend some friends came over for a day of raku firing. What a nice day it was, too, with some good conversation and some good firing results. One of the most interesting parts of the day was spent observing an uninvited guest meander around the perimeter of our firing area.
I think he was what we commonly refer to as a “chicken snake”. When stretched his full length, you really got a sense of how long he was, about 5.5 feet from what we could tell. He finally got bored with us and slithered up a nearby tree. Thankfully there were no limbs from that tree overhanging where we were working!
I spend weekdays in an office because of “the job”, so it was really nice to spend the day outdoors, snake and all! These are some of the results of our firings that day. We’re getting closer to what we’re trying to achieve with the copper matte glaze. Looking forward to more experimenting soon.
Have been working like a mad woman to throw lots of pots for more Raku experimenting. We have shows the next 2 weekends, but after that we hope to get in some serious Raku time. Don’t want to run out of pots when we finally find the time for testing.
Haven’t taken time to set up the photo tent for a serious photo session with the Raku we’ve done already, but snapped a few of the smaller pieces with my iPhone. The last firing we did was finishing up just at dusk dark and the kiln was emitting an orangey glow.
While playing around with Red Bronze Glaze, we came up with these results. Hoping we can replicate the results next time around, but with Raku, you just never know.
This piece was glazed with a Turquoise Crackle containing Copper Carbonate. I think we over-did the reduction, which caused the lean toward red, but I like the result anyway.
Have some Copper Matte pieces, too, but haven’t taken photos of them yet. Stay tuned!
From the moment I set eyes on Raku pottery, I loved it. Even before I understood the process, I knew I wanted to experiment with it. Just look at this piece made by Chris Hawkins. Isn’t it awesome? This is a copper matte glaze and my favorite.
In the Raku process, basically, the pots are removed from the kiln while red hot and placed in a combustible material such as wood chips, pinestraw, leaves, or paper. The resultant flames and smoke create beautiful colors or crackled surfaces, depending on the glaze applied. Smoke fills the cracks and unglazed portions of the pots, yielding rich, velvety blacks in those areas. It’s just a magical process.
Danny built a great portable Raku kiln that can be rolled outside and heated with propane. This is the setup we used. Note the metal cans where the pots will be placed after they reach temperature.
Now we begin the experimentation – trying out different glazes, firing times, and combustible materials until we find what works best for us. I’m a process person; I love the process and working toward what I need to do to obtain a desired result.
A peek inside the kiln as the pots are coming up to temperature:
These are the results from our first 2 firings. Pretty, I think. Not yet where I want to be, but getting there.
Can’t wait for the next day off work so we can do this again!