After getting really REALLY into my new hobby (and while wondering how I would fill my days in the summer with no pottery to look forward to), I have been watching The Great Pottery Throwdown on the BBC, and getting lots of ideas and techniques.
I then found a place in Wiltshire that offered Raku firings so I booked myself in for an afternoon of Raku!
Raku is a Japanese form of glazing pottery that involves an outdoor kiln, where you bring the pots very rapidly up to about 1000 degrees, then remove them and immerse them in a combustible (usually sawdust or similar) which starves the pot of oxygen while it is oxidising and producing a lot of carbon, (a process called “reduction”).
Then the pots are removed and immersed in water, and scrubbed to get some very unusual glazing effects. The most common ones are the metallic colours from the oxides you paint on while glazing (Raku glazes are oxide-heavy to get this shiny metallic effect), and something called Crackle glaze, which is usually white, and which cracks in a rather beautiful way due to the sudden changes from hot to cold.The bits you leave without any glaze on will turn matt black in the Raku process, so you can use tape to make interesting designs as well. Continue reading