Thank you Alchemist

Look what came in the post today!

It’s a postcard from The Alchemist, a blogger here who makes wonderful Raku pottery. He had asked his readers to come up with a name for a vase, and a little explanation or story to explain the thinking behind the name.

My idea was “copper tear” based on the colour and the shape of the vase. I didn’t win, but The Alchemist promised to send a post card to anyone who entered.

It’s good to be in contact with the lovely people here on WordPress!

Thank you, The Alchemist

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Raku and sawdust..

While we were at Gladstone today we saw a couple of interesting ceramic techniques. The first was by a lady called Tez. She was firing some raku Pottery. She had some pots in a metal bin with a gas jet heating it at the base. I didn’t find out what temperature she was firing at, but she said it takes about 40 minutes for a firing plus the work on the pots afterwards. Once they had been fired the pots were taken out of the bin and put in another one to rapidly cool causing crazing in the glaze. The lady put lots of beech shavings on top of the pots so that it smothered the fire. We were told that the wood sucks the oxygen out of the air around the pots and is a reduction reaction causing the copper in the glazes to shine through in a wonderful sheen.

The other technique we saw was more subtle. This time another potter put her pots in a box of burned sawdust ash. The pot was then covered in fresh sawdust mixed with white spirit. She sprinkled some of the burnt ashes on the pot to mask some areas then set light to the sawdust. As it burned it gave a mottled effect on the pot. It looked like it was being aged.

Finally there was some traditional stone ware pottery for sale. Fired in an ordinary kiln but also lovely to look at

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