Monday, December 1, 2014

Raku Kiln at Pitt Community College

I have been hired to be a visiting artist at Pitt Community College to lecture and demonstrate the Raku Firing Process. I really fell in love with the Raku process over the last summer at Interlochen Center for the Arts, where I am the Studio Manager. While there, I got my hands dirty by repairing their Raku kiln and firing some very successful sculptures and pottery. 

While at Interlochen, I would send pictures and talk on the phone with my PittCC buddies back home in Greenville about Raku. I was excited about this new process for me.  Jeremy Fineman and Charity Valentine were somewhat inspired by my Raku experiences and decided that it was something that PittCC could do as well. 

Here are some pictures of today's Test Fire #2. The first firing did not go so well as we were rushed and did not get the kiln hot enough to melt the glazes. This time Jeremy brought along his pyrometer and we were better able to adjust the gas, flue, and intake to get to the proper temperature.

Snapchat photo
My terra-cotta sculpture to be Raku'ed.

Jeremy adjusts the flue, wearing his official ceramicist shirt. ;)

Preheating some pieces, you can see skull piece down in there.

Iron-pouring gear is pretty handy for Raku.

Up and over!

2000 degree art.

I'm about to grab that 2000 degree ceramic sculpture!

The newspaper will protect my gloves but will also aid in the Oxidation Reduction Process.

That newspaper ignited immediately.

Into a trashcan full of newpaper!

Don't litter flaming newspaper.

Nice truck, bro.

We used a white raku glaze, but it came out very silver. I think this might be from the oils on the Daily Reflector ink that covered the sculpture in the reduction chamber.

After it cooled down, I used a brass brush and scrubbed some of the silver off to reveal a very creepy white color. The piece is half white and half silver and very alluring. I want to do more Raku firing. I feel very similar to the feeling of when I first saw an iron pour. This is why I make art, for this feeling. 

Thank you Jeremy Fineman and Charity Valentine and Matt Amante and BJ Revel (photos of me).

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