Some examples of the ware I make.
I fire Stoneware to 1265°C in an electric kiln usually with my own made glazes.
I have an occational Raku firing for the pure enjoyment of playing with fire and the elements. This usually involves a day with friends making lots of smoke and flames, drinking wine, beer and eating good food.
Raku ware was developed in sixteenth century Japan as a low fired form of pottery. The pots, usually small bowl - like forms, were glazed and used for Japanese tea ceremonies.
The immediacy of the Raku firing method, which involves removing the ware from the kiln while red hot and its attractive surface properties have vastly increased its popularity with western potters during the past decade. The violent and rapid changes in heat that the ware is subjected to requires an open bodied clay which contains a high percentage of grog.
The pots are decorated in much the same way as any other form of pottery during the appropriate stages of drying and firing but are biscuit fired at approximately 900°C to ensure they are very porous.
After the pots have been decorated, the Raku kiln temperature is raised to approximately 1000°C and the glazed pots are placed somewhere warm to remove water from the glaze. The dried pots are then placed into the glowing kiln chamber with tongs and left until the appearance of the glaze surface is “wet”, indicating that the glaze has melted.
Once the glaze has melted the pots are removed while still red hot and covered in a combustible material such as sawdust so that reduction of the glaze can take place.
Crackle glazes are a feature of the Raku process and if this effect is required the pots are exposed to cold air for a few moments before being covered as this will encourage crackling.
The rapid heating and cooling exerts enormous thermal stresses on the pottery so I use a heavily grogged stoneware clay for the body.
Because of the low firing temperature Raku ware tends to be hygroscopic and is not suitable for use with food, nor it is frost proof.