We spent the day doing 3 raku firings today. It was alot of fun, but also alot of work! Raku firing requires some planning and coordination, so it’s best to plan ahead. Decide the order you want to fire in depending on the types of glazes or raku firing techniques you plan to use. It’s always best to glaze your pieces well in advance and make sure they are dry before firing in the kiln. We also prepare the buckets to smoke and reduce the raku pottery in ahead. We look at the size of the pieces and pick a bucket that fits the sizes best. We line the buckets with lots of newspaper and have bullets of newspaper ready to toss in to keep the fire going for awhile. The first firing we did we took the kiln up to 1850 degrees which is almost cone 05. Some of pieces were not completely fired. Bubbles on the glaze were an indication we’d not fired up to temperature. We got the same results on the second firing. We decided to refire on the last load and took it up to over 1950 degrees. If you check out the slide show you can see the kiln at this heat – it was rather scary, to be honest. Flames were shooting over a foot high out of the top and fire coming from all holes in the kiln.
Refiring the Raku Pieces
This last firing did the trick. We got some nice copper color and the glazes sheened perfectly. Unfortunately, I lost a couple pieces on the refire. This is a risk of retiring, you chance breakage as the pots are more fragile. Bob got some amazing horse hair out of this raku fire, and his crackle glazed pots came out nice too. All in all it was a successful firing.
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