Tag Archives: raku

Raku clocks

I finally got my raku clocks fired during the week, I was so excited about finishing these.

Some are textured and have metallic flashes; on the wall they catch the light beautifully.

Raku clocksYou can see how the flames have licked the glaze surface.

Raku clocks

Raku clocks

Raku clocks

Others are painted with designs inspired by my sketchbooks, they have crackle glaze, colour(including some copper) and smoke stained lines.

Raku clocks

Raku clocksSome clocks are flat and some are slightly curved, each one is unique.

Raku clocks

Raku clocksThe nature of raku glazes and firing means you get some cracking and crazing, this is part of the process,  it’s ok so long as it doesn’t go right through the piece but unfortunately I had a couple of rejects including this one below,  I really like it so I finished it and will now have to find somewhere to hang it.

Raku clocksThe pointers are very fragile so I had to find a way of protecting them, I got some clear plastic pointer covers off the internet, then I tried different packaging inside the boxes to keep everything in place, rolled up cardboard and a little bubble wrap seemed to do the job best. Problem solved!

I fired some raku art tiles as well, I will show you those soon.

Have a great Sunday!

 

Making Ceramic Leaf Art

It’s been a busy week,  I have been putting stock together for topping up a gallery as well as making new work, and listing pieces on Etsy. At times I feel I could do with an extra pair of hands but then I tell myself to chill a bit and enjoy the season. I hove this time of year, seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

I have sets of leaves to follow in a couple of weeks, as well as raku bowls, stoneware succulent pots and ikebana vases, more on those later.

I’m making this a short post as I have so much to do, I will leave you with some photos of my new ceramic sycamore leaves. Click my Etsy shop for more information on what’s available.

ceramic leaf wall artraku leaves for the wallclay leaf hangingleaf wall decorationceramic leaf decorationleaf decoration kiln fired art

I love the way the light plays on the glazes

Ceramic leaf wall artEnjoy a bit of hygge time today, Autumn is a wonderful time of year!

A week of raku firing

I have spent most of my week raku firing leaves, beads and pendants to stock up my shop . I now have over 200 listings.  All these leaves are now in my Etsy shop, they are going fast. They look great hanging on the wall, my own collection is growing, I’ve kept a copper one for myself.

raku leaves

I love the unpredictability of raku firing, sometimes the results are amazing, like this leaf dish below.  If  something comes out awful you can fire them again with the possibility of something better ( or worse) in the end.

I have had some pretty disappointing stoneware glaze results this week, and those firings take over 24 hours before you find out if you have something amazing or mediocre. At least raku gives almost instant gratification, even if it does mean smelling like a bonfire and standing around outside on a cold damp day.


raku leaf dish

One of my regular customers asked me for raku beads of a certain colour, but with the unpredictability of the process they weren’t quite the colour she asked for, although they were still very lovely, and she liked them.

raku beads

Refiring can really change the look of a raku glaze, and I’ve found firing in the large gas kiln, or my small Paragon SC3 kiln gives different results. So does the size of the combustion bin, and what’s inside it.

raku pendants

raku pendants

I made a little video of the leaf plate to show the colours off to their best, it looks amazing don’t you think?

 

 

My Ikigai – Raku Firing

Ikigai is a trending Japanese term which means something similar to Raison d’etre; a reason for being. Or putting it simply a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Having a kiln is most definitely my reason to get up early, when opening the up kiln every morning is like Christmas morning.

At the moment I especially enjoy raku firing. On a dry bright Autumn morning what’s not to like, being out in the garden with the trees changing colour, birdsong and even a visit from a hedgehog. To top it all you don’t have to wait til the next day to see the fruit of your labours.

Getting back to the raku glazes I mentioned in an earlier post; before I hurt my ribs I did some glazing and took photos to see if I could work out what affects the glaze colours, it’s all in my earlier post but basically I photographed the leaves with the glaze pots so I knew which glaze was on which leaf.
ceramic leaves collageHere are the leaves after firing in their groups, they weren’t all fired at the same time. The first group of leaves were glazed by OH, who got roped in to help, the colours are not as colourful  as I have gotten with this glaze so I think he has applied the glaze too thin. ( Shh don’t tell him ). Some have nice copper colours and one has a bit of light blue which is lovely.

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This raku leaf has a blue / copper glaze , the results are much the same as I’ve had before.leaf to hang on wall

These 2 leaves have a glaze called cosmic copper which doesn’t always look as good as this, I did put the glaze on thicker this time.copper leaves

There’s not much to say about these in terms of colour they are similar, but you can see the speckled effect you get from throwing on sawdust in the reduction chamber.

raku leaves wall art

These 2 leaves look quite different, I will mention the colour in a moment.

ceramic leaves

Another 2 leaves where one has more colour than the other. I was amazed when I opened up the bucket and saw the colour on this leaf and the one above. What had happened was the 2 leaves had lain on top of each other and where they overlapped the colour was intense.

 

Raku leaves

Here’s another pair of leaves that came out much the same, but the other oak leaf has a lot of colour; this leaf had been fired before but I didn’t like the result so it was given another coat of different glaze and refired, the combination of 2 glazes could have affected the result but I don’t know.

Raku leaves from Kiln Fired ArtThis is how it looked before, it is a lot nicer now.

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Although most leaves with the same glazes are very similar I think I have learned a couple of things. Firstly  I think a thicker application of glaze gives a better chance of good colour.

Also, as I already know the reduction process is key. I think I may try overlapping leaves deliberately, and I might even try putting one in the chamber upside down, but that may not work so well as the sawdust is likely to blacken it.

So all in all it was a great reason to get up in the morning, so what’s your ikigai?

 

 

A trip to Potfest and making lemonade

Yesterday I had a trip to Potfest, I had a great time, saw some amazing work  and met a few potters whose work I have bought over the years so that was nice.  I was able to buy a few supplies including glaze for my dinner set.

One of the most amazing things I saw was a 3 D printer making pots. I have some of Joan Hardie’s work already; I was amazed to see her work going in a totally different direction these days. It was a fascinating process to watch, and Joan’s ceramic pieces were exquisite, like intricate, translucent, almost eggshell like forms in the most beautiful and intriguing shapes. If you would like to see Joan and Jack’s work they have a website which explains how their pots are printed.

After the raku firing I had last week, when all my pots cracked, it was my good fortune to watch a raku demonstration, and the chap ( I forget his name) gave me some great advice as to why my pots may have cracked, I think I knew where I had gone wrong already but he confirmed this, and gave me some tips too.

These are my cracked pots, although disappointed I’m not too bothered as I’m just getting the hang of firing with the gas torch, you need to get a feel for it, and I did get some fantastic colours on these pots. What you can’t see is how the colours sparkle and shimmer in the light.
Raku potsSo what do I do with my cracked pots? It seems such a shame to throw them out.

I had another minor disaster last week when I broke a piece off one of my greenware pots, but after a bit of filing, and drilling a couple of holes  I have turned it into one of my favourite bowls to date. A lovely noodle bowl, I need to make some more of these now.
noodle bowlI love this glaze and so I bought a large tub of it from Sedgefield Pottery when I was at Potfest, I think it could be the one for my dinner set, but I may do some test fires on mixing glazes before I decide.

I feel I have learned so much this week, I know there is a long journey ahead of me, but that’s the fun of it, and why I’m going down this path. Happy days !

Raku progress

The new raku glazes arrived, and the weather looked promising so we decided to have another attempt at raku firing last weekend.

This was the second attempt since making the raku kiln, this time the firing was far more successful.

The first pots didn’t have a lot of metallic  colour, but at least I could see that the dry brushed glaze and smoke blackened the cracks did exactly what I hoped for. I did wonder if this pot would survive as I thought the texture may have weakened the pot.

Raku bowls
The second firing was far more successful, the kiln got quite a bit hotter and the posts were glowing red and sticky when they went into the combustibles. This one has some nice oil slick colours.

green raku bowl

I did the happy dance when I lifted the bucket lid to find this lovely raku pot.copper raku bowlI made a little video to show all the colours and how they change in the light.

I’m going to have to wait at least a week for the next raku firing as it’s set for rain all week, but I will get my pots glazed and ready to go.

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.
P1430683

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.