Thursday, November 11, 2010

fun with fire

Reason # 473 why 3D artists have more fun than anyone else:

Meet the Raku Posse.....

They actually look more like they are preparing to rob a train than create elegant ceramic surfaces. So this is (L to R) Jordan, Adri, Sarah, Doris, Morgan, Kristen, Cate and Kelsey behind the camera. She's responsible for the blurry photos you're about to see.
And this is what they decided to do when I told them the temperature was right and they should get over to their places quickly. They paused for a group photo while I stood tapping my foot impatiently.
After properly preparing for the event with pizza, cookies, and some kind of little kid crackers you're supposed to dip in icing (don't ask me) we took our places and got ready for the opening.

the view inside the kiln

Once the cones fell correctly the temperature was right and we cracked open the lid of the kiln. The idea is to heat the glazed pots to a high temperature and quickly open the kiln and remove the pots from the intense heat. The pots are placed directly into metal cans on beds of newspaper. The newspaper flames up when the pots hit the cans and the lid is slammed on to extinguish the flames. The removal of oxygen from the chamber and the carbon from the fire work to create effects on the surface of the glazes.

Jordan and Doris handled the kiln lid and I used tongs to snatch the pots from the heat.

The rest of the crew handled the cans and lids working like....well, since you were not there I'll say they worked like a ballet group in complete unison with one another. That's mostly true. They were impressive with their response to the flames and heat.

Grabbing fragile and red hot pottery with metal tongs while dodging extreme heat is not an easy task. In fact, all of this process was a bit of an ordeal and there were many obstacles to overcome.

The flames and smoke and protective have to wonder why anyone would go to so much trouble just for clay pots.

And with Raku you don't have to wait long to see why it's worth the effort. We left the pots in the cans for the rest of the night to cool and this is what I found first thing the next morning. Brushing back the ash I found some pretty cool surfaces.

White Crackle glaze and Ferg Blue glaze fresh out of the cans. Add a little water and some soft scrubbing with steel wool and you get this.....

I've overheard people wondering out loud why anyone in their right mind would want to take art classes or better yet...why anyone would want to be an art major.

Aside from the fact that artists learn how to communicate the impossible, the fact that artists find ways to tap into emotions most people can't begin to express, the fact that artists create objects of unspeakable should also know that while artists are working their butts off in those studios they are also having more fun than you could ever imagine.

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