Today I spent most of the day in a raku workshop run by Tony Wilson. It was a really fun day, despite waking up to a couple inches of snow...
...and dreading that the workshop might be cancelled, and then enduring freezing cold snow and rain all day.
There were lots of challenges today, due to the weather, and a number of pieces cracked or blew up in the kiln, mostly from not drying enough after glazing, even though we preheated them all on the top of the kiln. Thankfully, none of my 3 pieces exploded, and they all came through the process spectacularly.
Starting at the result, here is the first pot, a pot of many colours :
This pot was thrown from 2600 g of WSO clay. For the records, the raku glazes I used were : 881 Oxblood (that bright red), Yellow underglaze covered with Clear Crackle glaze (I think I need to apply the glaze thicker), #5 Red Bronze Lustre (probably my favourite glaze, it is the green crackled one), PG816 Flame Blue, PG803 Copper Penny, and the two glazes brought in by a fellow student Marsha : Burgundy Matte and Molly Blanding. I'm not absolutely certain which is which, but pleased all around with the result, and anyhow there are huge variation in the results from one firing to the next, so I don't try too hard to anticipate the exact colours and textures I'll achieve.
The second one, which got a lot of attention, was this little dragon hatchling :
Here it is from a few different angles :
And the third is this pierced candle holder. I like to make pierced vessels for raku, to reduce the temptation to use them to hold water or food, as neither is advised for raku work, as the clay (which was fired only to 1860 degrees or Cone 06) is not considered vitrified enough to be food safe.
It is interesting that the Copper Penny went so shiny copper this time. I'm not sure I remember so much copper in the past. As did the Red Bronze Lustre. It is part shiny copper, and part of the crackly green which I have come to expect from it.
Here are a few more angles on this piece, including one pale process photo :
As always, there was lots of fire and smoke and excitement, and I'd like to share a few photos I took, of the process. Think of a strong smoky campfire smell as you look at these, and a cold damp wind, and you will get a pretty good sense of today :
Finally, when the pieces are cool enough to handle, they are carried inside, where we all compare notes about what glazes we used, and unless we have good notes, we're usually not sure how we came to the results we did, but most of us were very surprised and pleased. Other than those whose pieces exploded in the kiln.
I am so much looking forward to a future raku workshop again. I think I'm signed up for one in August, if I remember correctly. But I'll join any which I can fit into my schedule. It is so much fun, and I can't imagine much better ways to spend a day, even in the rain.