Every two years (or longer) the Instar decal salesman makes his way to American Ceramics. Every so often he has a special suitcase filled with out of print decals, sometimes they are very old. This particular decal was in that batch. So I grabbed the last sheet. There are a few others on that same sheet, an adorable blue elephant and a red rooster, too.
After I got home, I immediately wedged some clay and rolled it out to make some pendants. I normally am a fan of round (square, ect …) beads, but I could not see how to fit this size onto a round bead. So I made a few pendants.
I still have some pendants to glaze, and those will be glazed with a smooth glossy clear. This batch, however, was glazed with a white matte glaze.
Several months ago I threw a series of small tumblers/tea bowls from this wonderful stoneware Toas Red clay from Texas Pottery Supply. I brushed white slip on the outside, and added sprigs of clay to form this flower.
Then they sat on my greenware shelf for quite a while. Finally I bisque fired them and they sat even longer. I’ve been busy with college and haven’t found time to glaze and fire them until this past weekend.
This is one from that batch. There is twinge of purplish/pink tint to this red stoneware clay that left me quite surprised. I have the other two over on the Flickr account.
Here is the ceramic stoneware cylinder ready to go into the kiln. It is cone 10 stoneware which has been bisque fired to cone 04. It’s been through the raku process before which is why it is black.
There are approximately 20 beads in there. Notice that the stainless steel rods are bent between each bead as well as near the cylinder’s holes. This is to keep the beads from bumping into each other and fusing together.
The raku process goes like this: put cylinder (or pot) into kiln. Heat to approx. 1885 degrees (cone 06), open, take out cylinder (or pot) using tongs. Place this into a trash can with some sort of combustible medium (such as sawdust or newspaper).
Let it cool down for a half hour or so, open and be amazed.
If the lid has been pressed down tightly, sometimes the lid can be briefly opened to let in some air. This will allow the newspaper re-catch on fire. Closing the lid, and repeating this process can make for some beautiful effects. It is the process of reducing and/or eliminating the oxygen in the trash can which makes for gorgeous coloration, especially if there is some amount of copper in the glaze.
Here is a side view of the container. I bent the wires on the outside so that they would be more stable. I’m sure there are easier ways to go about this, but this is what I have done thus far.
College has kept me very busy. I’m about halfway done with this semester. In ceramics we have been rakuing every week, weather permitting. I have been wanting to raku beads for so very long but trying to figure out a contraption to fire them in has stood in my way.
Finally I made a ceramic box, sans lid, and poked holes through each side. I liked that, but it was hard to pull out of the kiln, being rectangular shaped and all.
I decided to throw a stoneware canister and poked holes through the sides. It ended up being about 8″ tall after being bisque fired, and wide enough to fit three 20mm beads. Each holds about the same amount of beads (20 or so). I have decided I prefer the canister to raku the beads inside. I think the tall sides aid in the reduction process.