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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Raku day

We had a huge storm blow through yesterday morning around 3am, it woke me up and I was thinking we were going to have a tornado show up. The rain stopped mid morning and usually this is a good day to Raku, lots of hydrogen atoms in the atmosphere makes for interesting glaze reactions. So I decided to fire up the kiln. I had nothing washed or glazed so I had to do that first and then I cranked up the kiln. That's about when the wind cranked up too. I had a time keeping the kiln lit, the wind kept blowing out the burners.I finally got some old windows that were lying around here and put them around the kiln to block the wind. It was pretty chilly and very windy, shite blowing around everywhere. I don't know why I torture myself to Raku out in extreme elements, why don't I wait until a calm warm day? Oh well, it was worth it, I was right, the moisture was good to me.
With results like this on my houses, I may have to stop using the terra sig. I love this piece. I'll have a hard time parting with it. The only problem is getting something made like this to survive the thermal shock of Raku. I built this one pretty well and still got cracks where the wall meets the roof. I get cracks there frequently, I am just learning to live with them, part of the process...
My bowls look like crap with functional glazes, but when I put a raku glaze on them I love them. They aren't functional and what do you do with it? But I love it. I threw this one really thin and I got crazy cracks.

These flower pots got a little crispy in the fire, they look ancient. Won't they look great with some Rosemary in them?
This is a copper matte glaze recipe my friend Amy gave me. It was supposed to be reddish orange, but it's every color in the rainbow. Crazy glaze.... 30 gerstley borate, 30 redart, 30 copper carbonate. I need to experiment more with this, I think it could be cool if I do a reduction while it's in the kiln. It is different with a fast pull and a longer can reduction than with a slow pull and less time in the can. That's the fun with Raku, you can change the look of a glaze with the way you take it out of the kiln and reduce it.
So, all is well, still have lots more to glaze and fire. I haven't quite figured out how to make all of these pieces work together. The raku and the terra sig don't seem to work together to me and then there is all that jewelry I'm making. I just wish it was a little more cohesive, and if I have to make many more of these little houses and then put terra sig on them, burnish them, fire them, stain them and fire them again and then maybe again, I am going to pull myself apart! Maybe I'll just raku them and take my chances with them holding together.....

11 comments:

Lori Buff said...

Just beautiful, they were worth the hassle of fighting the wind.
Do you use anything in your slip like vinegar, sodium silicate or paper? That might improve the crack resistance.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Lori, using extra moisture actually makes things worse. I score, use coils and just a tiny bit of slippy water, this works best. If I take my time, it's all good, but sometimes I go too fast and I get cracks. Also, if I let them dry slow it's all good, but again when I rush, cracks. Slow is good, fast is not! Sometimes they crack when I put the terra sig on, because I am applying water to bone dry work and those seams just get stressed. It's always something...

cookingwithgas said...

oh- the barn is fab and love the bottoms of the bowls!

Shortstuff said...

Gorgeous work. Love the copper and your houses are wonderful.

Judy Shreve said...

Fabulous results!

I use 'magic mender' when putting seams together. I'm not sure what's in it but it really seems to help. I've also learned that putting a couple of thin layers of terra sig is better than one thick one.

I had a great 'visual' of you battling the wind and debris and working that kiln :)

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks guys! Judy, my sig is water thin and I use 3 layers. It's not like a normal terra sig. If I use a slip or "mender" solution I get cracks along the edges of the coils, no matter how well they are blended in. I have to use the coils to hold the structure together for Raku. The trick is slowing down, something that doesn't always work for me!

Laura said...

WOW. Great firing!

Kings Creek Pottery said...

I love the house- can it be saved even with the crack? How do you reinforce it? I know so little about raku, but dreamm of trying it in the future.

Ideas for the bowls to hold: hard candy dish, hair ties, dreams, trinkets, air, keys....

They are beautiful!

Judy Shreve said...

Tracey - wish I were down the street! I would love to feel your terra sig pieces! I only use one coat of terra sig - it's pretty thin. I will add underglazes on top of that.

I was having trouble with cracks at the seams where I'd used coils. So after everything is dry I check and can see where a crack might start. That's when I use the 'magic mender.' I just dip my finger in it and smooth it along the edges. Then I put some terra sig or underglaze over that so you don't see the change in material. No cracks after firing!

Since my stuff now doesn't need to be food/water safe - finishing with an acrylic matte medium really smooths & gives a nice satin finish. And I don't have to worry about a cloudy clear! :) Life is good! lol

Michèle Hastings said...

that scary storm woke me up too... i was also thinking tornado.
raku bowls are great for lots of things... wrapped candy, coin & key collectors, sage or potpourri... and yours look great. love the colors on the new glaze!

Amy said...

wow--- beautiful! the bowl, what about turning it into a bowl that holds fruit, etc... on the kitchen counter. Or it could just be as is. You and raku--- a good combo! really like the crackle glazes.