Raku Firing

After rolling a slab and using a rib to smooth it out, I cut the clay into a rectangle. Then, I wrapped the slab around my newspaper-covered tube. After cutting the edges of the rectangle diagonally and slipping and scoring the edges to connect the edges of the slab, I cut a circular base. The base was then slipped and scored onto the existing clay. After smoothing the outside of the clay cylinder, the tube and newspaper were removed from the clay cylinder. Following the first firing, I glazed my cylinder with TZ Copper.

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When firing our raku pieces, one safety measure was that all hair and sweatshirt drawstrings had to be tied back. Also, all of the students that helped handle the reduction bins had to wear heat gloves and safety glasses. The raku pieces were pulled for reduction at 1850 degrees Fahrenheit. We used garbage bins as reduction chambers to reduce the oxygen available to the raku pieces in order to give it the effect on the glazes. The order of pulling was TZ Copper, Dolphin, then White Crackle. The TZ Copper was pulled first because it needed the least amount of time to cool down for reduction to occur – 8 seconds, and White Crackle needed the most amount of time to cool down. To cause crazing in the White Crackle, our class blew on each of the pieces once they were removed from the kiln before placing them in the reduction chamber.

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