I’ve got a number of things in progress right now which is a little unusual for me. I usually work through the process one step at a time, but right now I’ve got a little bit of stuff in each phase of the process. Shelves full of leatherhard stuff drying, greenware waiting to be bisqued, bisqued ware to be glazed and glazed waiting to be fired. Definitely not my normal process.
Anyway, today the kiln is running with a glaze load. And I’ve thrown some vases from raku clay to used as samples for an upcoming horsehair raku project I’m working on.
Here’s what I was listening to while working today. I love this Twin Cities group.
I finally fired the horsehair raku pieces for a custom order. This type of firing involves heating pieces in a smaller portable type kiln until they are red hot, then removing them from the kiln and draping horse hair over them. The hair burns and curls leaving charred patterns on the white clay.
It’s so fun to do because each piece turns out so different from the next. You never know exactly how it will turn out. One of the pieces cracked during the decoration part so it’s fortunate I made a couple extras just in case. I’m especially excited that one of these pieces will be going to a Twin Cities celeb (more on that later).
Here’s a close up of the effect the burned hair makes on the pot after it’s cleaned up. I love turning each piece as I clean it to see which spots I like best on the piece.
The kiln is cooling, the pieces are drying after I cleaned the soot off and I smell like a combination of burned hair and manure. Time for a shower.
“What’s up with Sue”, you ask. “She hasn’t posted anything new here in ages.”
Well, I’ve had a really busy August and finally feel like I can take a breath. My hubby and I went to our studio/farm/cabin in SE Minnesota for the long weekend. The weather was fabulous so we had a great time. Then last night we headed to Wisconsin to have birthday dinner with my son Zack. My baby turned 21 yesterday!! At 6’2″ he’s not really fond of being called my baby – can you tell by the scowl on his face?
Over the weekend I had an opportunity to work on a custom order that has been taking me longer than it should. A customer who previously ordered some horsehair raku pieces has placed another order. One of the reasons it has taken me a while to get to it was because raku clay is very different in color than my normal clay. The raku clay I use is very white while my standard clay is a red/toasty brown. So before I could start the raku pieces I had to clean everything I would use so the standard clay didn’t contaminate the raku. This is probably the cleanest my wedging table has been since it was installed several years ago. (I’m not much of a cleaner which is sometimes a sore subject at home)
Batts and tools also got a good cleaning because even the slightest dark clay could cause a funky shadow on the horse hair raku.
Here are the thrown pieces on drying boards. After drying they’ll be bisqued and then they’ll be ready to go through the raku process. It’s a very dramatic process as red hot pieces are removed from the kiln with large tongs. Horse hair is draped over the red hot pieces. The hair burns and leave a wiry pattern on the piece.
Maybe I’ll have a post with photos about the raku firing in the near future.
I’m finally finishing up the horsehair raku pieces a customer ordered several months ago. (Sorry Mike, my kiln malfunctions really slowed me down). Raku isn’t something I do frequently, but I enjoy the drama and immediate results of the process. Our daughter Gabby joined us for the firing. She’s the very talented photographer behind the camera , though I did get my hands on the camera long enough to take a picture of her roasting a marshmallow. Like the gloves and flame retardant shirt? I’m quite the fashion statement when I’m working don’t ya think?