Saturday, June 20, 2009

Raku, Pit Firing & Post-fired Finishes

As I mentioned earlier, the raku/pit firing workshop was a lot of fun! I am especially happy with the raku results. The vase and the mask were the first two I pulled out of the fire. Then came this wonderful little surprise:
I put the glaze on too thickly and the result was this beautiful bubbly "mess." This is just such a cool little bottle vase! But not everything turned out this well. My last little bottle vase was a big disappointment. I think I know what happened to it: I covered the can too quickly and the combustible material didn't have a chance to really catch fire because when I opened the can most of it was unburned.

Pit Fired
Pit firing was an afterthought. I had focused on making a few pots for the raku fire and did not focus on the pit firing. As a result, I neglected to make suitable pots using a smooth clay body such as B-Mix and I also neglected to burnish the pots. All I had was a couple of vases and a small box that were made using the same clay I had used for the raku firing. No matter, I decided to go ahead and try them out in the trash can "pit." All three pieces turned out really nice: smoky black w/ patches of white where pots touched each other and no smoke was able to get to the clay. Also, a pattern of white dots developed on the pots.

Post-fired Finishes
The last piece was the small box. It came out of the fire looking just lovely: all smoky black with just one area of white. I decided to experiment with post-fired finishes and used metallic gold acrylic paint to embellish three areas on the box where the clay was impressed with a pattern. I also used a clear non-fired glaze on the box. I loved the outcome! However, all is not success stories in my studio. I have an unfortunate tendency toward clumsiness. I dropped the lid of the box and the beautiful impressed knob shattered. Here are the remains of my lovely box:

Another experiment with acrylics turned out a lot more promising. I kind of like the look of this box! I made it following Pam Eisenmann's dry brushing techniques. I have not decided how or if to use a non-fired glaze on it since a previous attempt on another piece yielded a milky look. We'll see what eventually comes of this, but it certainly was a lot of fun to experiment!


Mostly Art said...

Really like this one! Great stuff, hope I can do this type of firing some day too :)

Docks-Pottery said...

Ciao Graciela, beautiful work Congratulations.