Sunday, November 6, 2011

L&R Raku day 2011

I spent a good part of the day down in Nixa at L&R's 21st annual Raku Day.  It was fun.  This was my first time watching the Raku process in person.  I didn't have any bisqued ware (made from Raku clay) to fire, but L&R had pieces available for a very reasonable price... I bought a small globular vase for $5.00.  Everything else was free; the glazing and firing, and lots of good food to snack on!  You can't beat that, and it was such an enjoyable atmosphere.  You had to be patient, though.  The crowd was thick, and the process takes time.  After I selected the vase I wanted, I stood in line for a while just to get to the wax resist area.  After that, we moved on to the glaze buckets.  I chose a crackle white for the bottom half of the pot, with a turquoise blue rim.  The next step involved about a half hour (or so) of pre-warming and then waiting for a kiln to open up.  They had about half a dozen gas-fired kilns going.  The actual firing took about 20 minutes. When the vase was glowing orange hot, the top of the kiln was lifted off, and the guy working the kiln picked up my piece with tongs and moved it around in the air (and even blew on it) to cool the surface, in order to create the distinct crackle effect.  It was then placed in a metal bucket with some newspaper, and sealed for several minutes, allowing the smoke to permeate the clay body, and darken the cracks in the glaze.  It turned out really nice, I think.  I'm pretty sure that when November rolls around next year, I'll be back for the 22nd annual Raku day.  A good time was had by one and all.

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