28th March 2020
Raku is a ceramic technique developed in the 16th century in Japan and is primarily a Low firing process for clay pottery. In the mid-20th century the process was modernised and moved away from traditional wood fired kilns to gas fired kilns.
This is a highly unpredictable process which can be frustrating. However with a mixture of nervous excitement and anticipation the rewards can be great, producing spectacular and unique results with every piece. It is impossible for even a seasoned Raku potter to predict a result or be a perfectionist!
Each firing can take about half an hour and depends hugely on the weather conditions, affected by wind, humidity and temperature. The risk of thermal shock adds to the intensity, as the kiln is taken up to temperatures near to 1000 degrees C. This means that some pieces need to be carefully thought through, walls must not be too thin and joints can add points of weakness. Flat items such as plates or tiles are notorious for cracking!
Using glazes, resists and oxides can give further interest to a finished vessel. Burnishing and carbonising non-coloured areas adds contrast and texture.
The risks, anticipation and thrill of removing glowing pieces from the kiln adds to the extraordinary excitement surrounding this technique!
Smoke firing is the earliest form of ceramics which can change raw clay into durable forms with wonderful decorative smoke effects. Every piece is unique and encourages the potter to be experimental and open to the untameable force of fire. Workshops include the use of different fuels: wood, leaves, horse hair and other natural combustibles, resists, fire-pits and saggers.
Smoke Firing is incorporated into the day to give you a full experience of outdoor potting!
Raku and Smoke Firing workshops run approximately 6 times per annum from about 9.00am – 4pm (approx.). The cost for those attending is £120 for per workshop for current students, which includes all refreshments, a yummy lunch and all materials.
For those not attending regular classes at The Clay Studio there is an additional £20 cash charge on the day to cover the provision of Bisque pieces to fire.