I have made wheel thrown pottery for over 40 years. My interests have ranged from porcelain to stoneware, but the focus has always been in the flowing lines that best show the form of each piece.
My exploration back into raku has been rewarding and, as always, a learning experience. I continue to be excited by the contrast of the black and white of the raku technique, the uninterrupted flowing lines of the form, and the simplicity of the gold leaf.
Peel Off Raku
In “peel off” raku, a bisque fired vessel is coated with a slip. The slip acts as a barrier between the vessel and the glaze. The slip does not melt thus allowing both the slip and glaze to separate from the surface of the vessel after firing. The clay body for raku needs to have enough grog and sand to withstand the stress of the firing. The clay body is not fired to maturity, which makes my raku pottery for decorative use only.
The firing process is simple. Once the glaze has melted and the vessel is removed from the kiln with tongs, I place the vessel into a reduction chamber that is full of paper and saw dust. The combustibles ignite almost instantly and the lid is placed over the chamber. Inside the chamber, the vessel absorbs the carbon. After cooling for a short time, the vessel is removed from the chamber and cooled with water. The vessel is next cleaned of burned debris and then coated with a sealant. The gold is applied last and is also sealed.