Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Raku Results : Obvara Raku Vases and Plate

I had intended to post all the items from my Spring Raku pottery course, but realize that I had not gotten to the obvara items.  The obvara raku, which involves dipping the hot pottery into a fermenting yeast mixture, then into cold water (see this post for more photos of the obvara raku process), was the technique I was least interested to try.  I'm not sure I like the effect, but I'm glad for the experience.

I had seen some videos online of someone who used the obvara method to finish some sodium silicate crackled pots, and the result was pretty interesting.  So I decided to do the same.  Perhaps it was our obvara recipe, or other factors, but the obvara finishing didn't accentuate the sodium silicate texture, it seemed to make its own visual texture.  Oh well, still interesting, I guess.

Obvara raku fired vessel / vase, with sodium silicate crackle texture.
This first pot turned out quite dark, like burnt toast.  We noticed that if the items were allowed to cool a bit before immersing them in the obvara mixture, they turned out a lighter color.  So that's what I did for the next one.

Obvara raku fired pottery, sodium silicate crackle vase.
This one is almost too light.  I like the effect on the bottom, but the sides of the pot are quite pale, for my liking.  I think when I realized how light it was, I even tried dipping it back again in the obvara, but it had already cooled, and wasn't taking on more color.  I like that the crackle effect shows through nicely on the sides, though.

Obvara raku fired pottery / ceramic plate / dish.
I had created a couple of small plates from a clay slab, this one shaped over some sort of round disk, I think it was a container lid.  It gave me another item to experiment with.  I was amused by the very visible tong mark, which shows up 6 o'clock in the bottom left photo, and at 8 o'clock in the bottom right photo.  When I first started ceramics, this sort of thing would have driven me crazy, I would have seen it as a flaw.  Now I see it as a fun effect, an artifact providing clues to the artist's process.

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