Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Raku Party!

Those of you who know me know that I have never commited to one art medium or another. In college, I was horrified that I had to pick an art major! Couldn't I just major in art? I took ceramics classes, and one of my best memories was learning and actively participating in the raku firing process.

Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful party at a great new arts location. It was unique in that it was in a remote and beautiful area on the Chesapeake Bay. To promote new ceramics classes, Artworks held a very special event for anyone interested in a hands-on experience with raku pottery. (and it's worth mentioning that the snacks were fantastic as well... crab sushi, dolmas, and things I didn't even know the name of but tasted divine.)

We started out by selecting small pottery which had been pre-made for us by ceramicists who use the studio. These were affordably priced between $5-$15 each. We listened to teacher Gia give us some glaze tips and information.

Then the real fun began, we picked colors and painted on the glazes to the tune of 2 wonderful musicians whom I failed to get the names of (they played some nice bluegrassy music.) An outdoor kiln was fired up and ready to go, and all evening the pots went in and out.

When the pots came out of the kiln, they were glowing red hot, and gently deposited into piles of sawdust under aluminum trash cans. This was the exciting part, when you get a glimpse of you and your friends' pots with their new looks. The smoldering and smoking sawdust and paper finishes the process, blackening the unglazed parts of the pottery.

The pottery gets cooled and washed in a bath, then we scoured off the remaining bits of ash.

What a terrific way to enjoy a fall evening!


Blogger mrsb said...

Wow, that looks like amazing fun!

October 21, 2008 at 7:08 PM  
Blogger syzygy13 said...

What a cool thing! I checked out the website for the arts center. Very beautiful! And lovely photos. I wish I'd been there. Have you decided exactly what you're going to use the pottery for? Cereal? Kibble for wandering kitties? A catch-all for falling fruit?

Lovely hats? ;)

October 21, 2008 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Ang said...

well, the pots are not food-safe, I believe that's because they are not fired at a high temperature for very long. At least the yellow glaze contained lead.

They are purely decorative. I gave the neat ovally-rectangle one to Will, and I have the round one next to a black and white photo of local cows a photographer friend just gave me... looks terrific! Really connects me to the land here to look at them together. :)

November 6, 2008 at 9:17 PM  

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