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Sugar/candy Raku

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#1 PeterH


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Posted 08 April 2014 - 08:37 AM

Has anyone out there successfully done sugar raku? If so, can you tell me what post-firing treatment you used,

and what the results looked like.


I've tried several times using the usual smoke/reduction bin (as for naked raku), and got a very dark two-tone grey.

This sounds like it could be subtle and sophisticated, but wasn't.


Regards, Peter


#2 DarrellVanDrooly



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Posted 09 April 2014 - 01:04 AM

When I do horsehair firings, I sprinkle sugar on the pots. The sugar leaves a black mark where every grain hit the pot. It is quite pretty. I rub my pots in coconut oil post firing to alter the color slightly and make it slightly more smooth. Other potters I know use tile sealer on their pots to make 'em all shiny. (this is fired to ^012, removed from the kiln while hot and have had granular sugar thrown at them.)

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#3 Graeme



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Posted 09 April 2014 - 07:05 PM


I've never used sugar in raku. Perhaps you are thinking of black firing, where sugar is thrown into the kiln at the top temperature, and the kiln tightly sealed. Any gaps allowing air to enter will result in grey patches.

Cheers.  Graeme. .

#4 PeterH


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Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:14 PM

Thanks, but the sugar raku I'm interested in is a variant of the 2-part naked raku process, in
which the refractory 1st coat contains sugar. Normally 2-part naked raku leaves black "crackle"
lines. On the other hand sugar raku -- from the few photos I've seen -- leaves black patches,
often with some sort of halo effect.


Overall effect is something like the left-hand pot in



Every few years I'd try again using the normal 2-part naked raku process, and got a really ugly

pot in a mixture of black and charcoal greys.


Last time I tried cooling it in oxidation, with more interesting results.


Firstly tried quenching as soon as it came out of the kiln.
Attached File  quench_350.JPG   47.33KB   7 downloads


Then letting it air cool sitting on a brick

Attached File  air_350.JPG   57.65KB   7 downloads

Different, but nothing like the pictures I'd seen.


Finally I tried to repeat the second experiment, but botched it. I put it on short damp grass to cool, and

it had fallen on its side by the time I got back.

Attached File  grass_350.JPG   59.03KB   5 downloads

Obviously it had seen a mixture of oxidation and reduction.


So, I'm interested to know how other people cool their sugar raku.


Regards, Peter


For completeness.

Fired somewhere in the range 1030-1050C.

Slip was china clay 3, flint 2, sugar 2 by volume. I also tried a 3:2:1 mix but it was rather faint.


#5 Tyler Miller

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 10:46 AM

Peter, I'm not entirely convinced that the example photo you've posted there is a product of sugar raku alone, or maybe at all.  I think those pots are Geoffrey Swindell's work:  http://www.geoffreys...ceramics.co.uk/  Maybe drop him a message and see what he thinks?


I think the results you've got are something.  The only bad result would be if nothing showed up at all, since that's the only result you couldn't have learned from (aside from complete success).


Do you keep a firing log?  They're very helpful in figuring things out over time.  If you're committed to mastering this technique, I would start by recording everything you do every time you attempt it, right down to an accidental sneeze you made over your kiln during firing.  Play with variables, one variable at a time.  You've decreased sugar, now increase it.  Play with the slip resist recipes you use.  What does it look like when the sugar isn't fully dissolved or the solution is super saturated?  What about when it's completely dissolved?


In my experience with ceramics, doing exactly what one potter does, especially with raku, doesn't mean you'll get that potter's result.

#6 Evelyne Schoenmann

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:06 AM

Here in Europe the couple Ed + Ine Knops are famous for their great Raku knowledge. Maybe you could send an email to Ed, asking him whether he knows something about sugar Raku?!


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#7 Idaho Potter

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 04:34 PM

I work with raku a lot, and the third picture is dazzling--in my opinion.  I've never tried or heard of sugar raku, but I would be happy with the pot in picture #2, and overjoyed with the outcome in #3.  



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