Thursday, 19 January 2012

Raku with Kevin Boyd

Hello and Happy New Year to you all! 

I hope you had a lovely holiday break. Over the holidays I had the pleasure of attending a week long Raku Firing course with Kevin Boyd at the Canberra Potters Society. Kevin has over 20 years experience in Ceramics and specialises in Naked Raku!

Whilst I found parts of the course challenging (I haven't quite mastered creating forms on the wheel -  the clay is still boss!) I also enjoyed learning new techniques and meeting new people.

The first day we made forms for the raku firing. This was the first time I had attempted to make a bottle shape. 

On the second day, once the bottle forms were 'leather hard' we applied a terra sig (Terra Sigillata) slip which was then burnished using a soft plastic bag (like the ones from the fruit and veg section in Woolies). Terra Sig is a smooth, lustrous coating of clay which resembles a glaze and is virtually waterproof.  

The ceramic forms were bisqued in preparation for the raku firing. 

Then they were glazed using the glazes specially formulated for raku. We had the choice of using a crackling glaze, blue or green copper glazes.

Kevin demonstrating the glaze application techniques.

David stoking the raku kiln.

When the ceramic form is pulled hot from the raku kiln, it is then cooled down quickly (by blowing on it). This creates cracks in the glaze and allows the smoke to create black lines on the clay. 

The ceramic form is then placed in a garbage bin full of news papers, which ignite from the heat of the ceramics. The bin is sealed with wet news papers. Its the smoke from the fire which creates the black lines on the ceramics.

Pots that have been removed from the garbage bin are cooled with water. This helps the crackled glazed to simply drop off. 

My bottle forms emerge from the flames. You can see the different copper glazes on the necks of the bottles, the black is caused by flame and the black lines is where the crackle glaze was applied.

Bits of glaze still stuck to the bottle and were scraped off using a knife. It was a little like peeling eggs.

The finished raku bottles were polished with a bit of bees wax.

Lunch that day was wood fired pizzas cooked by Chris.

And assembled by Marika.

Whilst we were learning Raku and wheel forming, on the other side of the court yard another ceramic course was being taught by Bev Hogg who was demonstrating how to create expressive 3D figurative forms.  The results from that class were fabulous (sorry I forgot to take photos). It looks like I might have to participate in Bevs workshop next year :) 


  1. Oh wow Kate - they look just so cool! Do you have kiln access somewhere to do more?

  2. They're gorgeous, Kate.

    I reckon Bev's workshop would suit you really well. Your French hens would look great in 3D.

  3. Thank you for your kind words :)

    I love your suggestion of creating three french hens in 3D - that might have to go on my list of projects for this year!

    Im contemplating doing Cert IV in Ceramics at TAFE this year so that I can continue to learn x



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