Raku clay for sculpting
Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:21 PM
Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:54 PM
I recently pit fired a bisqued earthenware sculpture and was disappointed to find when the fire had died down that the sculpture had broken in 6 places. The folks at the clay store suggested I try raku clay. Is it just the addition of grog that makes the raku clay stronger, or is there more to it than that? I asked if the raku clay was easy to use for handbuilding and sculpting and was told that it is. That seems too good to be true: I mean, if it handles as well as earthenwares, why doesn't everyone just use it instead and ensure less cracking and breaking? Are there quirks and tricks to working with raku clay?
Their suggestion to use a groggier clay is common for sculpting since it shrinks less and tolerates differences in thickness better as a result... Additionally, some raku clays contain things like kyanite, which has some ability to withstand thermal shock and also serves the same purpose as grog in terms of reducing shrinkage. Their suggestion to use raku clay probably was the result of the fact that your method is pitfiring and as a result your work may see some thermal shock. Most raku clays are light colored, so if you want something dark, you might have to stick with an earthenware that has added grog.
Posted 01 March 2013 - 07:01 PM
You could use terra sigilatta to darken the raku clay.
Kiln Repair Tech
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:19 PM
Posted 02 March 2013 - 11:43 PM
Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:07 PM
Raku, Pit fired, Majolica, and Stoneware ceramic artisit
Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:16 PM
Gosh, Darrel, if you and your friends have 50 years of experience among you, you could be just the person of whom I need to ask this question: When I pit fire, I am looking for lots of pattern and tone variations. Sometimes I get just dull grey all over, sometimes I get all-black pots, sometimes almost nothing. What is the "trick" to getting lots of variation? Is it reducing faster? slower? smothering it more thoroughly? I know there are many ways to pit fire, and maybe there is no one answer, but I'm darned tired of trying to understand why I can do the same thing each time, but sometimes get the variations I want and sometimes just get solid color.
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