Raku firing is a low temperature, fast firing process. Pieces are glazed going into the kiln and once temperature is reached, the burners are turned off and the hot pottery is removed immediately to a container filled with combustible material such as newspaper. The newspaper catches fire and the lid is placed on the container. This creates a reduction atomosphere and causes the raku glazes to create unique, sometimes metallic features as it reacts with the lack of oxygen caused by the fire.
The Raku Kiln
A trash can with special liner material and a burner attached to propane tanks fire into the kiln. Pottery is fired inside and when it reaches temperature, the trash can is lifted off and the pottery is removed to the small reduction trash cans filled with paper. The pottery sets the paper on fire and the lids go on creating a combustion atmosphere inside. The fire and smoke cause reactions to the raku glazes to create random effects.
Use of Saggars
Prepared pots are nestled into saggars filled with combustible materials, such as sawdust, less combustible organic materials, salts and metals. These materials ignite or fume during firing, leaving the pot buried in layers of fine ash. Ware produced in filled saggars may display dramatic markings, with colors ranging from distinctive black and white markings to flashes of golds, greens and red tones.
Horse hair pottery is unglazed decorative pottery and does not hold water. Once a piece is thrown on the wheel, it is allowed to get bone dry and then a terra sigallata is applied to the piece with a brush and burnished until a sheen is created. The piece is dried completely and bisque fired. It is then fired again and when the kiln reaches 1300 degrees, it is opened and the pottery is removed while hot. Horse hair from the tail is draped over the piece. It carbonizes instantly on the the pottery. The patterns are random and how much hair is applied will determine how the piece will look.
Hot Pots Get Horse Hair