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Member Since 12 Oct 2012
Offline Last Active Feb 04 2014 07:49 PM

Topics I've Started

Coping With Trim Scrap

06 December 2013 - 05:50 PM

I just finished a three hour, down-to-the-nub studio cleanup, and I'm reminded of how much I hate trim scrap.


Does anyone have a solid system for keeping bits of trim residue from flying all over the place? It's not bad when the pots are on the softer end of leather hard (you can sort of gather up the trim as it comes off your tool)... but I prefer to trim when things have stiffened a bit. Those scrap fragments fly off, landing in difficult to clean nooks in the studio, adding to dust issues.


I've tried positioning a garbage lid off the side of my wheel, which works to a point. Cumbersome though... and I can't be bothered when I'm in a hurry.


I'd love to encounter a few solutions with a bit more elegance.

Raku Firing A Boatload Of Tiles

03 December 2013 - 04:46 PM

I'm working on a couple of tile-inlay projects, and thus looking to firing some 40+ tiles over the next week (most of which are 4*4).


I'd like to streamline and improve the process. There are two areas in particular I'd like to tweak...


1) Maximizing output from each firing.


If I lay the tiles flat, I can get nine tiles on the shelf. I've never tried to use stacked shelves, or fire the tiles on their sides (with support) but I'd consider this if the outcomes would be good. I'd worry that shelves might change the temp gradient or the reduction/oxidation conditions within the kiln, and that side-firing might lead to warping or cracking.


2) Efficiently moving the tiles to the post-fire reduction chamber.


As of now, I'm scootching each tile to the edge, grabbing it with my tongs, and placing it in the reduction bucket. It's a frustratingly slow process... by the time I get all nine tiles bucketed (three to a chamber) I worry that I've missed out on the best of the reduction effects. Picking the tiles up with my kevlar gloves does not speed things up. I've considered placing the reduction chamber next to the kiln and 'flicking' the tiles into the bucket... but I worry about fracturing.


Anyhow, if anyone has grappled with this and has suggestions, I'd love to hear them.





Burping Raku Pots

19 November 2013 - 12:50 AM

Can someone explain- from a chemistry standpoint- why 'burping pots' during a Raku post-fire reduction helps (in theory) helps with the development of colors (oxides, etc.)?


Stands to reason that the influx of O2 would re-oxidize things briefly... but I'm not sure I understand why this would create more vivid color than- for instance- starting the post fire reduction at a cooler temperature.


(Sure seems to work, though- at least in my experience).


For those who don't know, to 'burp' a pot, you briefly open the reduction barrel or can after a pot has been in post-fire reduction for some variable interval of time.

Raku Mugs

18 November 2013 - 12:10 PM

I recently was contacted by a customer who wanted to commission a couple of coffee mugs... and was very adamant that he wanted them done in Raku.


I gave him my usual spiel about Raku (bacterial buildup, structural strength, leaching of oxides)... and he was undaunted. Says he's a collector, and views them more as sculptural, art objects.


Does anyone see anything unethical about selling him these pieces? I generally am very careful not to sell any Raku ware that might be used for food. This guy is a collector and knows the score... but who knows- these pieces might make it into someone elses hands at some point.


Note- there are really no carcinogens in the glazes I use- copper carbonate (at fairly low concentrations) is the worst thing in the recipes that would go on these mugs.

Ethics Of Selling Repaired Raku Forms

21 October 2013 - 12:06 PM

A component I make for water features has proved to be highly fragile in the raku fire (see this thread).


In general, I find that I'm seeing more of this as I venture into increasingly sculptural forms (tiles, slab-build lanterns, etc.).


I'm interested to hear what people think about the ethics of selling raku forms that are repaired using epoxy. (Example of a repaired fountain component below).


This came up on in another thread... (regarding an art plate) and there seemed to be some consensus that trying to subtly repair the plate with epoxy was out of line. People suggested everything from kintsugi to a wooden mount (I'm currently experimenting with the kintsugi ideas).


However, my tendancy would be to see an epoxy repair as acceptable for sculptural objects, as long as...


1) The seam didn't detract from the appearance

2) The repair didn't impact the object's functional integrity

3) You were upfront with any buyer


The reality is- some of my sculptural raku pieces have many hours invested (carving, hand-glazing, firing, etc.)... and the usual 'just smash it and make a new one' dictum is tough to swallow. I certainly have friends who are sculptors who sell repaired pieces.


Curious to hear what people think.