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?"
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!!