Ceramics Students Try Ancient Raku Glazing Technique

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We received a set of photos from FASCU instructor Anne Stryke of a ceramics raku session she recently joined headed up by Associate Director Margaret Keelan. In addition to the photos, which were taken out at the AAU foundry at 360 Swift, Anne provided some history of raku and the process:

“Raku is an old process that goes back to Japan about 500 years ago. Students in class build a ceramic form then fire it in the kiln at school before going to the foundry to raku. Students then paint the fired forms with special raku glazes. We take a bus to the bronze foundry because it is also a safe place to raku.”

RAKU PROCESS:

1 : Students place their glazed ceramic pieces in old kiln, lid goes on and the kiln is fired to temperatures close to 1940 degrees F.

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2 : We take lid off kiln when kiln reaches temperature. Notice the red hot ceramic pieces that are now ready to begin the raku process.

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3 : Students geared up with special clothing remove hot ceramic pieces and place in trash cans that are 1/2 full of shredded newspaper (raku glazes interact with fire, smoke, reduction and oxidation process to create special glazed surfaces)

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4 : Students cool down ceramic work with water, remove from trash cans and water down more to reveal glazed surfaces. Fun process!

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