Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Raku and Smoke Firing - Hill Potters' Guild Backyard

I did my first raku firing ever yesterday in the back parking lot of the Hill Potters' Guild.It was a cool, damp fall day, not so great for hanging out but fantastic for firing up a kiln.

raku supplies: sawdust, shredded paper, heat resistant gloves, masks, pots, snacks

We needed sawdust, shredded paper, propane, pyrometer, the thing that channels the flame to the kiln (completely forget what this is called right now), a kiln sitter (cone 06), gloves, masks, metal containers to act as fire pits to receive the heated clay objects.

setting up the kiln

raku kiln BEFORE

I chose to raku 4 objects: three small bird figures and a large human figure. I made sure the pits I placed my work hot from the kiln had the same material in them--(a base of sawdust and then shredded paper around it) so I could assess my choice of glazes better. I chose not to use the pits in the ground but metal contaimers as my pieces were tall and small.
Two other guild members, Kathy and Bev, were also rakuing and leading me through it.

There were some surprises.

raku kiln AFTER

empty raku pits - sawdust bottom then shredded paper

I had to suit up before I could get close to the kiln to take the door off and get my work out and in to the pits.

My mask was poor. I really need a better one.
It was so smoky. I wasn't ready for all the smoke.

smoky pits with hot ceramic pieces from the kiln in them

smoke from the pits

While we waited for our pieces to cool off I experimented with smoke firing.
This is the easiest surface effect I have tried yet. Get a metal garbage can, put your piece in the can, crumple newspaer around it and set it on fire. Add more paper as needed depending on how your piece looks. Sometimes we put a lid on the can to create even more smoke in it.

adding fuel to the fire

burning paper all around my sculpture

dying embers


smoke firing with lid on to make it more smoky

final results


Mr. Big said...

wow, I love raku, do you?

The Urban Oaf said...

The oaf takes great pleasure in seeing one of the oldest professions practiced in the deep woods of Richmond Hill. It gives me hope that the future may still revert to the past. I wonder if residents watching from the turrets of their monster homes were sufficiently annoyed by the goings on that they notified the local constabulary?

jessica said...

Gee that looks like fun!