Tag Archives: raku pots

There’s a change in the air so I need to make pots!

This past week the weather has turned, we have had plenty of rain and it’s back to dull Autumnal weather with sunny spells.
I’m not complaining though, my beloved fells need water to green them up, although it’s almost time for the bracken to turn bronze again. I love the changing seasons.
I did have plans this summer to throw as much as I could and bisque fire so it was there to glaze during the cooler months. This also doubles up in heating the studio making it more inviting to work in when it’s horrible weather.

Who would have thought the weather would be so good this summer? However having so many family celebrations, and travelling quite a bit meant the pots didn’t get made.

So this week it has been back to work in order to catch up. At least we can raku fire responsibly as there is little risk of a field catching fire now since all the rain came down.

I have been making leaves which are drying nicely.

Raku leaves drying

I have lots of bowls waiting to be glazed too, so as you read this I am probably tucked up in the studio listening to Bad Company (my music of choice when doing clay work)  a brush and a pot of glaze to hand.

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While I was tidying up this morning I was thinking about what to make next. I have to think of something inspired by swirls for the Art Elements challenge. I have a couple of ideas but nothing is shouting out at me.  Also I would like some dinner plates for Christmas so it’s time to try again, hoping they don’t crack this time. Then there is another bag of raku clay to throw, and my kitchenware pouring bowls are in demand. Told you there was lots of catching up to do…….

Ending the month on a high

I can’t believe it’s the end of August already and I’m seeing the month out on a high.
It didn’t start so well, the weather has been dreadful but in the end I had a wonderful day raku firing last weekend, we managed to do 11 firings in the day so that made a bit of room in my studio.
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IMG_20170826_153909_770The month didn’t go completely to plan as I still haven’t fired the dinner set. I glazed a few vases with some of the combos from my test firing experiment. I was so disappointed when I opened the kiln. The glazes didn’t do what I’d hoped for.
P1440735I did get some wonderful pieces from the raku firing though, including all these leaves which seemed to fit in so well with the bank holiday weather, the rest of the country was basking in sunshine but it felt like Autumn here. I even stood with an umbrella over the kiln for a time.
Raku leavesI think this leaf is gorgeous.

Raku leafI fired rather a lot of small bowls and some pots too, some made me squeal with excitement. I have decided although I love them all I’m going to have to sell some to make more so they will be on my Facebook page hopefully on Sunday.

I made a lot of little bowls, this is my favourite

raku bowls

And some pots, the colour on this one was a surprise

P1440870And a lovely coppery one, which was fired twice, the first time it just looked a bit mediocre.

raku pot from Kiln Fired ArtOh, and my dish, I love this ,it will be hard to part with it so I’m kind of hoping no one buys it but if they do I can buy more glazes and make some more.

Raku platterTwo pots ‘kissed’ in the kiln , you can just see a mark near the base where the glaze came off. But I think these marks showing the making process just add to a raku pot don’t you?

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There was a weird thing happen with this leaf, the one I used to stamp into the clay had some black paint on it, obviously I’d used it for another project but I thought it would just fire away, it didn’t. I’m not so sure I like the effect on this leaf but it’s good to know that china paint might hold under a raku glaze.

P1440878There were a few breakages too, this vase is very heavy in the base, it actually flew off the wheel when I was throwing it , I should have dumped it in the bucket but I decided to alter the shape and fire it to see what happened. It cracked. But I love the effect on the front, it reminds me of a lightning storm.

raku vases

Raku vase from Kiln Fired ArtI don’t have time to post all my photos from my raku firing but if you head over to Kiln Fired Art on Facebook on Sunday you can see them all in an album ‘Raku Pieces For Sale’.

More Raku Bowls

I managed to get another raku firing done last week, in between the days of torrential rain. I have been waiting eagerly to fire up the kiln again but the weather has been so bad this summer.

I made several pieces including these 3 bowls which are a little experiment. The one on the left is the heavily grogged raku clay, the middle bowl is this same clay but with a layer of stoneware slip on top which makes it look a lot smoother. The bowl on the right is a new clay for me, it’s Ashraf Hanna’s raku clay.
P1440384I wanted to see how they fair during the firing process.
This is the one on the left after firing
P1440434The middle pot with the slip has an interesting crackle effect
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And the Ashraf Hanna one, I think for bowls this is my preferred clay but I will tell you about a project involving the heavily grogged clay in my next post.
P1440416Also my daughter is home so she has had a play on the wheel and these are her pots after firing. Very wabi sabi, with some lovely colours.
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So this raku firing was a success, I think I’ve cracked it ( or not cracked my pots) 🙂

I got up early this morning to list a few of my raku bowls in my Etsy shop.

raku pots

Creative time with friends

Some good karma came back at me last week, aren’t these flowers gorgeous. Also our friends came over for a few days, I love our time spent together.

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P1440062The weather was set fair so we did our planned firings first, saggar pots were prepared in the usual way, a couple had some copper sulphate instead of ferric chloride.

raku kiln

We got some interesting effects, the whiter ones have the copper sulphate on them. saggar fired ceramics

The raku firing had mixed results, Tom’s pot  came out the best with some lovely copper oil slick colours. toms raku

And a lovely green and copper insideraku bowlThese  pots were less successful, I have put it down to the old glazes which I reconstituted, they started cracking off before the bowls even got into the kiln. The green glaze was a new one and gave much better results. However there were some lovely colours on these pots so I think the firing process was probably ok.
raku glazesWe sat and waxed up our pots over a glass of wine, the wax brings out the colours
saggar potsThere are some interesting green areas on the copper sulphate pot, I think I might try a saturated solution next time.

copper sulphate saggar potsWe had worked hard and felt quite hungry, I made a tapas style meal served in my little bowls, it’s the first time they have all been used together. Do you remember the salad bowl that I made, and we had berries from the berry bowl for pudding.

tapas bowlsJean makes the most adorable needle felted animals , this is her dog collection, after dinner we set to work making a little terrier, maybe we were tired or had too much wine, mine eventually started looking more like a hare, which is what I hope it will turn into one day but I have put it to one side for now, my mind is on pots……Needle felted dogs……lots and lots of pots, I have started making a dinner set so we can eat off my dishes next time friends come over. More about that in another post.

My journey into Raku firing begins.

When I lived in Wiltshire I signed up for a raku course which was cut short after only one week. This sparked (sorry about the pun) my desire to make raku pottery and I treasure the bowls I glazed and fired that evening.

I have procrastinated for a long time about making a raku kiln, and decided against it but when I walked into Aldi and saw garden incinerator bins I seemed to slip one into my trolley : )

Caroline Dewison has a great article on the Art Elements blog  about building a raku kiln. Thank you Caroline 🙂

Armed with ceramic buttons, fibre blanket, nichrome wire and the incinerator we set to making a raku kiln. After some cutting and drilling this is what we ended up with.

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I got the gas burner as a birthday present, isn’t that what every woman wants for her birthday? ☺

I had some pots already glazed, this is how the firing process went.

I could fit in 2 small pots
P1430681We lit the burner, but the flame kept going out when we put the lid on, what you don’t want is to turn your kiln into a potential bomb so it’s really important to make sure it’s lit. We called a halt to the process and put a few holes through the fibre blanked at the base so oxygen could get in and tried again. This time it worked,  I waited patiently, and kept checking to see how it was going, it took about 45 minutes to get to orange but I think it should have gone hotter so I will have to invest in a pyrometer.
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P1430682The burner was turned off, wearing all the safety gear and looking like a spaceman the pots were carefully lifted out with long tongs and put in a metal bucket containing combustibles, (sorry no photos). After it had burned for a few minutes a lid was put onto the bucket, once cool enough the pots were transferred to another empty bucket with a lid to cool some more before going into the water bucket to finish cooling and then they were scrubbed up to reveal the colours.

The pot on the left should be turquoise and copper but I don’t think it got hot enough. I love the dark blue glaze, there is some copper there but also some lovely purples too.
P1430684I fired up again for the green pot, but just as the kiln was coming up to temperature my gas bottle ran out so it went into the bucket thinking it wouldn’t come out very well. It turned out not too bad at all.P1430685

2 pots have found a place around my home. I love the wabi sabi look of raku pots, this one does have a crack unfortunately, but it’s very tactile, not bad for a first attempt flying solo.Raku pot CollageThe green pot has found a home too, it has a tiny bit of copper in the bottom, but what I like most about this pot is it bears evidence of it’s birth, there are black speckles are were the sawdust touched the glaze, and the orange markings are probably where the newspaper was.Raku pots CollageI have learned a few things along the way, and I need to trim off some of the excess fibre blanket and when I get some more gas, a pyrometer and some fine weather  I’ll be ready for another go at raku firing.

A busy June

I’m not sure where the month of June has gone, we did have a week away, and I had commission work to catch up on when I returned, but looking back I think I have actually achieved an awful lot this month.

I made some dichroic jewellery for a customer so I made a few more pieces for my shop

dichroic glass pendants

Ceramic jewellery components, I have a lot more pieces waiting to be glazed.

ceramic earring components

I did a couple of saggar firings, and loved the results

saggar fired ceramic pots

And I got round to glazing some ikebana bowls that will eventually find their way into my shop.

The bowl in the centre is made from a heavily grogged clay that didn’t half exfoliate my hands. It’s a bit rough and ready but I do love the layered glazes . Pity I didn’t write them down but I will probably never use this clay again so it doesn’t matter too much. Glazes don’t come out the same colour on different clay bodies.
ikebana bowls

Remember the pot that I painted with underglazes? It finally got fired, without glaze, it’s more shiny than I wanted, and some colours are darker, and some lighter than I had hoped for. This was my first attempt with underglazes. I think it can be enhanced with some overglazes and it will make a nice pencil pot for my desk.P1430519Every time I go into the studio I want to throw pots, these are some made this week for raku work so watch this space.P1430521

I hand built a wonky sea/ beach inspired lamp, I do still love hand building. This is the grogged clay that I used for the bowl above, I’ve added all sorts of stuff to give texture. It’s very wonky, even the hole is off centre but that was what I wanted, I like the uniqueness of wonky pots. I don’t know how it will turn out but it’s just a bit of clay at the end of the day.

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My pots have grown in size, which feels like a major breakthrough, the cylinder is 15 cm tall, and the vases are more iteresting shapes. I can see I’ve improved, it’s only 3 months since I threw my first tiny pot.

pots
Ceramic BowlsHere’s my largest bowls to date, it’s 23cm in diameter, so all in all it’s been a very good month with progress being made, I can’t ask for more.