Monday, April 14, 2014

Naked Raku..... just jump right in

ME: "I have no idea what I'm doing...."
Gerry: "Aren't those the really nice big bowls you just made?"
ME: "Yep"
Gerry: "Are you crazy?"

There's nothing like throwing caution to the wind and just jumping right in. That's what I love about Raku. I have no expectations for results so I am never really disappointed like I am with cone 6 or cone 10 firings. How many times have I gone downstairs early in the morning after a ^6 or ^10 firing, eager to see the results, and found exploded kiln posts, overcooked pots, bubbles, pitting, crawling, fuck that.  With Raku, I just take what the kiln gods give me and sometimes it's a really nice gift.

Yesterday was a really beautiful day, perfect for a firing. So I experimented with naked raku for the first time. I had no idea how to do it. We tried it at Penland years ago when I took Steven Forbes deSoule's workshop, but it was a miserable failure. The morning after that firing, it was my turn to come in early to clean and prepare the studio for the day's class. Someone had cleaned their naked raku pots in the sink and left all of the broken shards everywhere, it was a mess. Most of the participants mixed the resist wrong and it wouldn't come off the pots. It didn't look like something I wanted to try, so I stayed away from it.

Recently, I found a new curiosity about it, and so I thought I would give it a try. I went online and got out my raku books and read all I could find about the process, I found several people that clearly don't know much more than me but write as if they are authorities, beware. It took some digging, but I found a few bits and pieces that I could put together for something that I thought would work for me. There are several different recipes for the clay slip and I went with the easiest one I could find and had the chemicals for. Why complicate things, right?

I think I might have a new obsession. Bowls and raku seem to fit with me right now, look for more to come. It seems to me that the thing I love most about pottery is the learning. I have just about bored myself to tears with these barns I have been making, I could do it in my sleep. But experimenting with raku glazes and techniques is endlessly intriguing, there are so many possibilities and results, and almost always a surprise.

I had some pretty good results considering I had no clue. Gerry even pitched in and helped me chip off the clay resist. It's a really cool process, laborious and the possibilities for loss great, not for the faint of heart, but I accept pottery loss easily since I have experienced it so often, it really doesn't bother me all that much anymore.

Here are some quick pics of the bowls I fired. They are a bit blurry, I shot them on the table by the window this morning, and as is the case every Monday since I don't know when, the sky is cloudy.
I'll try for better shots after coffee, but you get the idea. I really love the way these turned out. Very pleased indeed! Just wait till I figure it out and really know what I'm doing!

I was exhausted at the end of the day and Gerry wanted noodle soup. Not really feeling like cooking, but noodle soup sure sounded good, so a quick shower and a helper in the kitchen, and we had noodle soup after a successful day of naked raku.

Whoop! Happy week everyone!!


Christine Covert said...

So you planning to share your recipes? Did you fire raw (not bisque)?

Maryellen Newton said...

Your results sure look as if you know what your doing. They are wonderful. I almost want to make bowls but I'll stict to sculpture for now.

Scott Garrett said...

Hey Tracey. They look great to me too. Nice to see you back with the clay. Lets see where these bowls go! (i really need to leave some words here for you more often).

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Christine: here is a good article on naked raku:

I found it the most useful information from what's out there but there are lots of other recipes online, some you tube videos are also helpful. The internet is an endless source of info for anything isn't it!?

I use Highwater raku clay, and I used om4 instead of the lincoln fire clay. I also saw that someone used cedar heights clay, so I think you could use a variety of clays. I tried thick and thin application with varying results. Definitely need to apply terra sig to bone dry clay and the naked raku slip and glaze to bisque. I raku bisque, you can't raku raw clay.

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Maryellen: bowls are a nice rest for me right now, after so many sculptures, and thank you, I was pleasantly surprised!
Scott, nice to hear from you, thanks! I could say the same, need to leave you some words also :)

Scott Garrett said...

I know Tracey, i miss my the blog dialogues, but just about find the time to check in on everyones' while scoffing some food at lunch time (bad habit!) and leaving comments seems like a luxury i don't have time for... then i wonder where all mine have gone.. well it cuts both ways!! : )
Everyone doesn't seem to have time to write and create a dialogue, they just want to click a like button to show they are there and reading/keeping up with you. I guess that's part of the fb appeal, you feel active, without having to give much time or thought. I'm going to plod on blogging though, because i really appreciate those that do. I never miss a post of yours though. Say 'Hi' to Gerry for me, always admire his activity/work/dedication too.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

These are beautiful bowls...reminds me of Rei...graceful would be the closest adjective I can think of.

Anna M. Branner said...

Well done Tracey! I too like the slip/naked raku best. Gotta love that crackling! Plus with bowls it is more obviously nonfunctional for those not in the know. Keep it up!

Dennis Allen said...

Tracey, If you try to get better at this you will just F*** it up. They are better already.Just beautiful.

Tracey Broome said...

Scott, exactly why I don't do facebook, it is easy to just "like" someone without really giving them any sincere time, I like blogs better! Glad you are still active :)
Hey B. thank you, I feel that peace too.
Anna, thanks, I do like that crackle, so rewarding after all that hard work :)
Dennis, my thoughts exactly, if I really try getting these right I will absolutely screw something up, happens every time!

d2eclaylady said...

Good to hear you've found something new in clay to get excited about. And looks like you've got the recipe right - great bowls!

littlemancat said...

Beautiful bowls! And I love the idea you mentioned earlier about doing a collaboration with Gerry's black and white photographs and your raku. A great team!

Vicki said...

Wow, Tracey. I'm in awe.

Naked, and beautiful :)

cookingwithgas said...

Keep it simple sweetie, kiss.
This past year every time I get sidetracked by the pretties that someone else is making I go make a bowl.
It seems to be helping me keep focused right now.
Soup! I need that one night soon.

Michèle Hastings said...

Love them! and the best part is how much fun you had getting there.

oldgreymareprimitives said...

all naked is good..yes? well me not so much lol
lovin' the bowls girl!

M E Garde said...

Gorgeous! I love your raku bowls - the two that you so very kindly gifted me have pride of place in my foyer. These are just beautiful, make more!

Lori Buff said...

These look great. Well done. Their is also a good yahoo group about naked raku where you can get lots of information and community.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey there ya'll, thanks so much for your comments, I'm getting a little behind in my replies! I appreciate the feedback soooo much! Glad you are reading

Amit Singh said...

Thank you :-)
Found your blog super useful...

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Karen Eld said...

Hi Tracy regards from the UK...great pots... Ive too have been fiddling with Naked Raku over the last week and got some good results but i cant find much info on sealing them or maybe give them a bit of a shine.
Any links or tips appreciated...Karen...