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Crackle & Luster

After bisque firing, the piece is glazed and fired in a raku kiln. It is taken out of the kiln, with tongs, when it is at 1800 degrees.  Pots that have a luster or coppery glaze look are immediately put into a container with combustible materials, such as sawdust, or leaves.  The immediacy is important here as you don’t want the pots to be out in the air too long to “reoxidize”.  Once the combustibles catch fire from the heat of the pot, a lid is placed on the can so that the fire can suck up all the oxygen in the atmosphere of the container.  It is that reduction that changes the colors of the glazes to a metallic luster. The smoke and fire are true variables in this type of raku firing as you never know just how the pot will turn out.

 

Pots that are glazed for a crackle finish, are treated a little differently.  They are removed from the kiln with tongs and left out in the air for a bit.  The sudden change in temperature causes the glaze to shrink and crack.  You can actually hear the “pinging” sound as the glaze cracks.  The pot is then put into the can with combustibles, where the hot pot starts a fire.  Additional combustibles are added and when there is a good fire going, the can is lidded and the fire goes out.  The smoke inside the can then permeates into the cracks in the glaze and accentuates them.  Any part of a pot that is not glazed will turn black from the smoke inside the reduction can.

Posted in Crackle & Luster.

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