Monday, June 8, 2015

Raku Results : Horsehair Raku Pots

I have held back from posting my raku pieces until I bought wax.  I was looking for beeswax polish for furniture, as Linda recommended.  But what I found at Home Depot today was a paste wax for finishing furniture and wood floors.  The sales associate said it was the type his mom used for their floors, and he had fond memories of the smell of it.  It doesn't leave that acrylic residue, and polishes up nice.  So I tried it, and it seems to work well.  Since the items will not be used for food, the cleaner type smell (which he says diminishes fairly quickly) is not a problem.

I will post a few items at a time.   First the horsehair raku pots, since it was the horsehair pottery which first sparked my interest in raku.  It didn't disappoint.  I love these three items.  All three bear my signature stamp near their bottoms.
Horsehair raku pottery vases.
From this side, you can see that I used feathers on all 3 vases.  I wasn't sure I would like the feathers, but the first one I tried seemed to work out very well, so I was encouraged to try more.
Beautiful horsehair pottery vases / pots.
From this side, you can see more of the horsehair (squiggles) and the gold to brown colors added by the ferric chloride spray.

Here they are, one at a time.  First, the piece when unwaxed :
Beautiful horsehair and feather raku pottery pot.
Then the piece after waxing.  I think the colors are more vibrant and they have more depth, and there is a nice sheen to the piece :
Unique handmade horsehair and feather raku pottery vase.
1) This is one of my favourites from this raku course. I was really pleased with the shape of this piece, and it has a nice light feel to it (I am getting better at throwing and trimming).  It has the imprint of two feathers, squiggles of horsehair, small dots from berry sugar on the outside and inside, and some human hair (finer squiggles - I seem to remember these were from my husband) on the inside bottom.  I thought the human hair would be a nice touch, my family would appreciate that I thought of them in pottery class.  Instead, they seem to think it is a bit creepy, and my sixteen year old wasn't sure about having their "DNA" in my pots.  Hmmm.  Okay.  I thought it was kind of fun, and since I am responsible for haircuts for the whole family, I gathered it legitimately; I wasn't creeping around at night cutting bits off.  The ferric chloride at bottom was sprayed when the pot was really hot, so the color is a chocolaty orange.  Then it was flipped over and allowed to cool a bit more before spraying again, so the color on top is more yellow.

Beautiful handmade horsehair pottery vase with feathers also.
2) I'm loving this one more every time I see it.  It is a little bottom heavy, which tells me I didn't trim enough, but the throwing was pretty clean, and I like the shape.  It has a nice feather imprint, large squiggles of horsehair, and a mess of human hair squiggles near the top.  Again, a few dots of sugar (including on the foot), and some random sprays of ferric chloride.  I love that colour, it really completes the piece.

Unique beautiful handthrown horsehair raku pottery vase with feather imprints.
3) I'm liking this piece more every day, too.  It started out as a penguin, who lost his head during throwing, so I made it a small cup / vase.  The yellow at the bottom half is from yellow terra sig.  So since it already had color, I didn't spray it with ferric chloride.  It has the imprint of two feathers, horsehair, some sugar, and human hair on the inside bottom.

Speaking of penguins, I got it in my head that one of my raku pieces should be a penguin.  He was going to be finished in crackle glaze (tummy) and black smoke (the remainder of him).  Remember this guy from my previous terra sig post?
Raku pottery penguin in progress, with terra sigillata applied.

This was my penguin after the bisque firing :
Raku pottery penguin who met his end during bisque firing.
Poor guy had a small hole in his back side, but it apparently wasn't big enough, so he exploded.  At least I didn't lose any pieces during the terra sig and polishing.  A number of my classmates were not so fortunate.  So I'll need to do raku again, to make another attempt at a penguin.  This one will have a very large hole on the bottom, so there is no chance to explode.

Stay tuned for more photos, when I next have time to post.

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