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  1. Weekend - May 21-23, 2021 Alternative Firing Workshop Jessica Wilson Explore the hands-on process of raku, pit and horse hair firing in this intense course. Be prepared to work hard in a hot environment and to welcome the unexpected and unpredictable! Bring lots of bisque-fired pots and leave with unique, one-of-a-kind, finished pots. Intermediate $360 Registration and Information
  2. Hello! I’ve recently made my first raku firings in my home made raku kiln (a readapted tiny electric kiln) but I’ve had pretty bad results… I tried 4-5 firings using different commercial glazes thought for “normal” electric kiln low firing: colored glazes thought for 980-1050°C\1800-1920°F (with some addition of 850-1000°C\1560-1830°F Alkaline frit for lower a little bit the melting pont and make them more translucent), metallic glazes and “pearl effect” colored glazes (i.e. with addition of bismuth nitrate, I guess) that have by themselves the right temperature range (900-950°C\1650-1740°F, I believe…). The metallic glazes went out fairly well, but for the others it have been a disaster... the “pearl effect” glazes came out complitely black, very black, and very matt. The colored glazes came out full of bubbles and with a very strange metallic colored surface; this metallic layer could be removed by scratching with a steel wool. Unfortunately I’ve not taken pictures… This was the very first time for me, and I have not previous experience, no courses, never seen other peole do this kind of firing, so now I can only guess what went wrong. The first observation is that the firing time have been quite shorter that expected: 5 min at the maximum to see a “wet” glazed surface. My kiln is very very small (a cube with 13” sides), but this looks to me a very short time… So the causes for the disaster, I guess, are primarily due to the fact that I made the firings in reduction condition, too much gas, too few oxigen. This even if the fire didn’t look “smoky”. This could explain the black and metallic surfaces (even if I can’t figure out the real specific cause of the metallic surface). For the bubbles I don’t know if I waited too little time by the moment in which I’ve seen the “wet” suface, or if the temperature rose too fast, or it was too high. Could somone give me some idea about what have been my errors?
  3. I'm a beginner potter and I've tried wood firing pottery outdoors because an electric kiln is not very accessible for me. My small kiln is about a bit bigger than 2'x2'x2' and made from regular red bricks with a regular grill grate halfway to place pottery. As you can probably tell, it has terrible insulation and I can never get it to a high enough temp to fire glazed pottery. I can bisque fire and it works but It never gets hot enough to melt glaze, even the low fire glazes I use. I really don't want to ditch this project because I've already put so much time and material into it but I don't have the time/material to build a much bigger kiln or spend days firing. I also don't have a huge budget. What fairly inexpensive materials I can use to insulate my small kiln so that it can comfortably reach cone 06 and complete a glaze firing? I've looked into getting ceramic fiber board to line the inside of the kiln with, fire bricks are very expensive and probably out of my price range. Any advise from someone with more experience in this field would be very appreciated, Thank you!
  4. Hi all! I am trying to make a small pizza oven out of raku clay. Any suggestions would be welcome, but especially any answers to: 1. How thick should the walls be? 2. Can I "self-fire" the oven by building a small fire inside instead of firing it in a kiln? I dont have my own kiln, and firing it locally could get pricey.
  5. My 6 week online course on Alternative firing techniques begins on Nov. 2-Dec 11 https://www.teachinart.com/alternative-firing.html. see more courses available online at https://www.teachinart.com. Marcia
  6. Any thoughts on why this happened. Just finished a batch of wood fired Raku pieces with unique results. On some pieces I leave bare clay areas so it turns black in the reduction, however this time the bare areas have a silver appearance. I use a copper penny glaze and fire beyond cone 08 when doing a wood fire, and had the same results on paper clay and regular raku clay. The results were ok and I may try to repeat the results. Not sure the attached photo shows this very well. The fish head and area around the fish on the tile have the silver look.
  7. Hi friendly pottery community! I am in the process of building a raku kiln from an oil drum, and I have been scouring various sources online and in books to try and answer some questions but have had no luck! I thought it might be easier to just ask. 1. What kind of burner should I buy? The raku burner kits from pottery suppliers seem prohibitively expensive, and I wondered if they are putting a big mark up on something which could be bought cheaper from a builders merchant or similar. However, as I am new to this and don't really know much about burners, I don't want to cut costs and get the wrong thing. I gather from my various sources that the best fuel to go for is propane. 2. Fire bricks - what do I need to go for? I think I need to get some to build up a 'combustion zone' at the bottom of the drum, which a kiln shelf will sit on top of, and the burner will be aimed between them to build up heat. The options I see on the supplier I am currently browsing (Vitcas) are refractory and insulation. Are these the equivalent of hard and soft, as I have seen them referenced elsewhere? And how many should i need? It is a 55 gallon oil drum. 3. Am I right in thinking that the hole for the burner to enter the drum should be approx 2 x the size of the burner, and that the vent at the top of the drum should be double the size of the burner hole? 4. Should I get fire bricks for the oil drum to sit on? Or will it be ok just on concrete floor? I expect I'll have more questions as I progress with the build, but thats it for now! Antonia
  8. Dear Community As everyone is self-isolating here in the UK, I'm encouraging my students and others to handbuild at home and I want to enable them to fire without a kiln in as simple a way as possible. It gets very frustrating for beginners to be unable to fire work and I want to maintain their enthusiasm. We are using the kurinuki method so that there will be no joints to break open. I know that there are some Japanese firing methods for low temp work using small containers but I can't find the videos again on You Tube. I've been trawling the internet but not come up with what I am looking for yet. Has anyone had any experience of ONCE firing at low temps using such a method? Or could you point me in the right direction to do more research? I am planning to do some tests myself using an old Weber barbecue with low firing crank and raku glazes and I appreciate that there might be a lot of failures but am keen to experiment. Thank you all so much
  9. I fired 20 4"x4" raku tiles today and all but 4 broke either during the firing or as soon as they were removed from the kiln. I did fire them propped vertically on ceramic brick so I could remove them with tongs. They were hand built tiles with leaf impressions using Standard Ceramics 239 Raku clay. They cracked in half or close to in half. What caused them to crack? (I have been doing raku firings for 40 years). Diane
  10. I'm experimenting with Wayne Higby's Raku glazes....Higby Canyon Orange, Higby Water Blue, Higby Green, and have not yet hit the "sweetspot" for glaze maturation. They seem tricky and have tried different thicknesses and temps, with minimal success. Been trying in the 1800-1900 degree range. Anybody out there using these glazes with success and can direct me to what temp you're firing them at? Thanks, Mike Brown, LizardHill Pottery
  11. What is the highest cone temp you have reached in your Raku kiln- ill be using Propane for the fuel source.
  12. This book has just been released and focuses on kiln firing fir Raku, Pit, and Barrel plus high fire wood kilns. The galleries are full of beautiful work by many ceramic artists. I am excited to be included along with many others. One piece of mine is an Obvara pot with sodium silicate crackle surface and the other in an installation of terra cotta paper clay books pit fired during my residency at Archie Bray. I used the train kiln and a pit. The installation is a memorial piece for 9/11. Marcia
  13. From the album: July 2019

    Copper & cobalt oxide glazes applied to bisque fired (950oC) pieces. Fired in a dustbin raku kiln at recent kiln building workshop. (1000oC) then plunged into sawdust to reduce.
  14. From the album: JohnnyK's Glaze FX

    First commissioned Horsehair Raku piece

    © John Klunder

  15. From the album: Raku

    On Tuesday some friends helped me install the new lid with counter weight in my kiln shed. On Monday same friends dugs a hole for gravel for my raku kiln. I filled it with gravel and laid the half cinder blocks. After I put the cinderblocks down, they moved the frame in place. Today I raised the floor to a double cinderblock height . This weekend I will work of the stainless steel chamber lined with fiber. Beautiful weather after our early snow last week.
  16. From the album: #1 karenkstudio

    Raku glazes with peel-away slip background.
  17. From the album: #1 karenkstudio

    raku assemblage
  18. From the album: experimenting

    The beads and pendants are the results of additional experiments with Raku horsehair/feather firing.
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