Raku Fired Pottery | Crystal Fired Pottery

Goods are created with raku clay or a body with a high sand content. Items can be wheel thrown, coil or slab built. The goods are then fired in a traditional electric kiln to a temperature around 1900 F (cone 04). The ware is then glazed with specially formulated glazes that usually are NOT food safe. They contain higher amounts of copper and other metals.

The kiln is usually made from a 55 gallon drum and lined with high temperature insulation. My kiln is fired with propane and is preheated for about an hour to prevent cracking of the kiln shelf.

Using tongs or Kevlar gloves for some of the more unusual pieces, vessels are placed close together to get even heating throughout the kiln. The heat is held at a low temperature for about 5 minutes before the burner is cranked to maximum heat for a 10-15 minute period. The heating cycle is complete when the vessels are smooth and shiny. This usually occurs between 1600 and 2000 F. The burner is then turned off and the kiln opened.

Pieces are removed using the tongs or Kevlar gloves and placed in a metal container that has been prepared with a bed of paper or wood shavings. The hot pot will light the combustible material and after it is burning well, the lid is placed on the container to stop the oxygen flow.

After 5 minutes in the container with no oxygen, the piece is carefully removed with tongs and cooled in water. This is when the colors begin to change and the beauty of the pot starts to show. Stability is reached after about 30 minutes. Smoke sometimes coats the glaze and is removed with the use of a ScotchBrite scrubber. Some smoke can be left for specific effects.
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