Monday, November 17, 2008
I started making pottery back in 2004 and I just became more and more interested in it the better I got at it. Almost 5 years later, I still am trying to perfect my pottery each section at a time! I have taken a liking to Raku clay and the whole firing process with this type of clay. Raku clay is a greyish type of clay that tends to be a little gritty to the touch. When it is in the "greenware" stage, meaning dried out after its been molded and free of moisture, it dries light grey oppose to a regular clay drying more brown. At this stage of the clay, it then goes into a kiln to bake. Once it is baked and cooled, it is ready for glaze. There are so many different recipes for glazes, ones with matte finish, glossy, turquoise, copper etc.. Once I've chosen a glaze, I paint about 3 layers on, or dip it 3 times in a bucket of glaze.. depending on the size of the piece. Then, it must dry out again for another few days. After the drying is complete, it then goes into a kiln again. Once the pottery is glowing red and the glaze looks smooth and not bubbled it is ready to be removed from the kiln. It then can be removed and left to dry in open air, a water bath or in a metal trash can lined in newspapers. Its all up to the artist which approach they want to take. I personally like to put the raku pottery into a trash can filled with newspaper. After the piece is sitting inside of this trash can and the smoke is escaping from under the lid I then take the lid off of the trash can to let oxygen into the can to then ignite the newspapers again and then imediately cover the can again. This allows for the process to start over again so more chemical reactions take place and the smoldering starts again. I then let the piece sit in the trash can until the flames and smoke have disapated. The best part is taking out of the trash can and leaving in the air to cool and look at all of the different color on the piece. After the piece is totally cooled, its ready to go to the sink to be scrubbed of the suit and ashes to really get a closer look of all the beautiful colors in the pottery. Wallah! The process is now complete! Alot of sweat goes into the firing process, believe me.. standing in front of burning trash cans and kilns at thousands of degrees gets VERY hot! So maybe next time you see that pretty, handmade, colorful piece of pottery, you might stop and think about all of that hard work that really goes into each piece. :) Glad I can share my passion and experience!