Monday, September 12, 2011

The Joys of Rakua


Raku is a bit of a love hate relationship, mostly heavy on the love side! But there is the smoke, the heat, the chance of breakage due to temperature shock.

You will need leather gloves, tongs, several trash cans, shredded newspaper, and large sheet of dampened newspaper. The kiln can be made several different ways. Some people turn a metal barrel into a raku kiln. There are many sites on line that would give instructions on how to build a raku kiln. The smoke can be overwhelming at times. If you have breathing problems you probably want a mask of some kind.
You will also want to make sure you are working outside with plenty of ventilation. This day there were four of us working, each with pots in the kiln. Some work had to go straight into the trash cans with wet newspaper to seal the lids tight. The trash cans act as an oxygen reduction chamber, so the tight seal is important if the glaze is to work. Some glazes require you leave the pot out for a new minutes to allow crackle to happen.
Safety is another very important factor with raku. Propane tanks can leak and if you leave the gas on without lighting right away(like a friend did), it can blow you and everything else up! My friend survived, with no harm, thank goodness.
When all is said and done Raku is one of my favorite things!
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