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Horsehair Raku

Horsehair Raku is not glazed.  Instead, when it is bone dry, the piece is coated several times in a very fine liquid clay called terra sigillata.

The color on the pots comes from colorants that are added to the terra sigillata.  This coating is burnished to a shine after each application.

After bisque firing, the piece is fired as for glazed Raku, but instead of being placed in the combustion chamber, it is left out in the open air.  Individual strands of horse tail hair are applied to the hot pot.  As the pot begins to cool, there is a very short window of time (about 30-45 seconds) that the pot will accept the hair and produce the desired effect, so timing is crucial.  The heat from the pot burns the hair, which creates the squiggles and smoke marks.  I also apply feathers to the hot pots and sprinkle sugar for some wonderful effects.  It is quick, hot work, but using this incredible post-firing decorating technique, no two horsehair pieces are ever alike!

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