I am also taking ceramics at Naz. this semester and we started the semester off with a Raku firing. We were to make one pinch pot vessel and one coil vessel for this assignment. The pinch pot vessel was to be a bottle shape or some sort of vessel that described us as an artist/ person. The coil vessel was also open ended and the only requirement was that the surface was carved. We used specific glazes after bisque firing our pieces in order to complete the raku firing. I chose a combination of the clear glaze, cooper glaze, yellow glaze, and pattina glaze. With raku firings, you can plan and plan, and yet you never know what your pieces are going to come out like. Here are some rough pictures (from my phone) of the raku process. Basically the pieces get fired in an outside kiln made of bricks, insulation, and flame from a propane hose. Once the glaze is melted and the fire is hot enough (which is all done by watching carefully with all the human senses), you carefully lift off the insulation/top of the kiln and using huge cast iron ‘tongs’ (for lack of a better word) the pieces were moved to a trash can that already had some saw dust in it. More sawdust was added and then the top to the trash can was placed on so that the air was taken out of the equation and the reaction can take place. Due to the smoke, saw dust, heat, the conditions, you never know exactly how your piece is going to come out. The ceramic pieces are then taken from the trash can to a large metal bin where they are put to cool with water. This process is really fun, takes lots of team work, and you end up smelling like a campfire for a couple days (even after you showered twice). I am really happy with how my pieces came out. I will post those after I take a few pictures of them soon. Here are some pictures of the process from my class.
This is the kiln.
This is right after the top of the kiln is taken off. Notice how hot the ceramic pieces are!
I was able to get some cool pictures because our class is from 6-10 at night… and the heat from the pieces just glowed at night.
These are my pieces in the trash can before saw dust was poured over them.