After a wicked hot May, we’ve had a few perfect days this June. I took the opportunity to fire up the Raku kiln and finish off some pottery that’s been waiting far too long!
the Raku kiln is sitting on top of some soft brick to protect the grass
Assisted by my faithful puppy Kato we settled in for an afternoon in the shade.
Since it’s early June there is lots of birdie action to watch. I got pics of a Redbelly woodpecker and a Downy Woodpecker hitting the suet cake. Judging by the wad of suet they were carrying away I’d say they were feeding babies.
There was a pair of Bluebirds checking out one of my ceramic houses.
And this little ceramic owl seems a bit nervous about jumping into the fire!
some finished Raku ware
I taught a Raku class recently and as usual I learned a lot. But first I had to refurbish my Raku kiln. I’ve had this kiln since the mid 80’s? and the last time I used it I burned too much gas. So I ordered a new kiln blanket, and relined the original kiln right on top of the old liner. The blanket is made of spun kaolin fibers and create a fabulous heat barrier in a tiny space.
the blanket can be cut to size with scissors
After piecing together some scraps on the bottom of the kiln and using high temperature wire to secure the seam it was time to apply heat!
It was a beautiful morning when I set up the kiln. I used some soft brick stacked two high to hold the kiln shelf. In Raku firing the pieces are usually fired one at a time so the shelf is pretty small. A round shaped kiln is also a plus as it directs the flame around the piece keeping the temperature more even. A small gas tank is attached and we are ready to fire!
As students arrive and glaze their pieces we get a rhythm going, preheating the next pot on top of the kiln helps to move things along as the piece is already hot when I restart the kiln. Each firing takes 15- 30 min.
Some of the finished ware.
Some of my finished ware available in my store.
looking into a hot Raku Kiln
My first blog entry, ever. No pressure, what should I cover first.
How about Raku pottery and my Demo firing at the July Final Friday in Nelsonville Ohio. If you were there thanks for checking out my web site and I hope you won the raffle!!! I’m writing this the day before as I fire some of the pieces I made, today. There won’t be time Friday evening to do all the pots I made from the 50 lb box of Raku clay that I got from the Nelsonville Emporium last month. So far I have only broken one piece probably because it was too tall for the smoking chamber and I hit it with the lid when it was molten hot and in a fragile state. Well time has flown, the Raku firing was a great success! The weather was perfect, I had a great spot right next to the fountain. I didn’t blow up any pots and people were properly amazed to see a glowing orange pot being lifted out of the kiln & placed in sawdust where flames ensued. The Raku Raffle was won by Mike. He chose a blank pot, applied glaze by dipping into a 5 gallon bucket then shaking off the excess. He also loaded the pot into the kiln, then lifted out the hot pot and placed it in the smoke chamber. The results were fabulous with beautiful lustre colors.
Raku Kiln set up by the fountain
pulling out a red hot piece of pottery
washing off the ashes
things get really dramatic when the sun goes down
Here are some of the ware that was fired that evening.