Tuesday, June 15, 2010

new processes!

well, Raku isn't that new.  you have all seen jared's fantastic platters n such.  but RAKU is new for me!!  i had only done a couple things in the past that weren't really made to be raku fired.  since the clay is still porus it is simply for decoration, it's a little opposite from most of my functional forms!!  I got over my fear of flames fire and heat firing this last week.  Friday -  i fired with my friend molly all day!  we each had a weeks worth of pots (about 50 lbs) of stuff to fire one at a time.  
all of my new pieces, mostly platters plates and bottle forms

and here is a little play by play on how each was done...

this is the kiln we used (the most) Vadar.  kinda like Darth Vardar... you see how it is glowing red hot?!  we heated it up to 1800 degrees f with pots inside.  the shelf isn't that big maybe 12" by 18" so we did our pots in batches of 3.  

almost hot enough!!  (that's the pyrometer)

after it got to temp, i would reach in!!  haha of course wearing tennies, jeans, a leather coat, face mask, and leather gloves.  it was crazy hot though!  i could still feel the heat through all of my protective wear.. intense

this is me preparing to take it out with tongs.  i have my wheelbarrow ready with combustables!

the hot pot!

instantly ignites newspaper, duh.  

i cover it with a trash can lid to create a "reduction" atmosphere where the fire is looking for oxygen to burn and taking it out of the copper and cobalt in the glaze.  

back to the kiln to close the door and turn the gas back up!  
ahhh, fresh air.  

and my partner in crime!  
i don't have photos of the next steps, but after waiting about 4-6 minutes (depending on the size you do less time for smaller pots and more time for bigger pots) we uncover the smoky mess and watch for the glaze to change colors as the air hits it and glaze reoxidizes - as it is doing this i pour water on it to freeze the colors i like.  sometimes i had too much smoke in my eyes to really see what is going on... blues tend to be considered the lesser of the raku colors (i think it is nice on some pots) and the coppers are the most coveted!  there are so many variables to the process it is hard for me to say what works the best, i really am a noob.  

this is my fav. bottle.  it had a crackle glaze on it - which yields a different look and requires different steps.  instead of taking the red hot pot from the kiln to reduction - you spray water onto it to create a very quick cooling.  this makes the glaze crack and separate.  when the pot is still hot, you place it in a bucket to smolder and burn combustables for about 15 minutes.  this allows all of the cracks to absorb the smoky black color.  whalah!  crackle pots!!

Jared has also been doing some experimental firings.  he has been looking at Biz Littell who discovered a process called "vapor glazing" which gives pots a permanent luster finish... very s e x y.

he has yet to show me what exactly happens during the process but i know it involves vaporizing VERRRY toxic oxides.  and here are some results to give you a taste of his latest obsession.  

i told you they were sexy!  i am signing off for the night, sweet dreams xoxo

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