raku art

Press & News, New Press

ASHEVILLE MADE MAGAZINE | It’s A Trial By Fire — And That’s After The Kiln Does Its Work

Raku pottery is an ancient Japanese art form that requires a meticulous process. But the final step is pure chance, and for Steven Forbes-deSoule, that’s the joy. “It’s like being a kid at Christmas,” he says.

Pieces are rapidly heated in a small kiln to the optimal temperature of 1900-2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Then they’re removed and placed in a metal can with newspaper. “The paper catches fire immediately, and, after a few seconds, a lid is placed on the can extinguishing the flames and creating an oxygen-starved environment,” the potter explains. This method produces a variety of effects on the piece, and it’s never the same look twice.

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Raku Glaze, Press & News

March Glaze: Forbes Lime Green

As shown fired to 2000F with pyrometer so the silver glaze will melt.

RAKU POTTERY GLAZE RECIPE

Frit 3110                     54%
Nepheline Syenite    21%
EPK (Kaolin)               10%
Silica                           10%
Lithium Carbonate     5%
Add:
Chrome                       .4% (that's point 4)
Tin                               3%
Hectorite                     2%  (or 1 Bentonite dry mixed)

A note about Hectorite:  It's a suspender in powder form similar to Bentonite except it doesn't have to be dry mixed with the other chemicals.  It's not a common raku pottery glaze chemical and you may have to search for it on the web. I purchased mine at Highwater Clays, but they don't carry it anymore due to lack of demand (nobody knew what it was used for).

Raku Glaze

February Glaze: Blue Moon

Glaze fired to 1900F.

RAKU POTTERY GLAZE RECIPE

Silica                             30%
Frit 3134                        20%
Nepheline Syenite        15%     
Lithium Carbonate.       15%
EPK Kaolin                     10%
Strontium Carbonate    10%
Tin Oxide                        7%
Copper Carbonate         4%
Bentonite                         1%

 

 

 

This is a stable blue and red glaze.  1/2% Epsom Salts can be substituted for Bentonite.  This glaze produces some incredible raku pottery and is one that I developed several years ago.  This picture is the results of the raku glaze fired to 1900F. It remains a staple in my studio.  See more of my work by visiting my raku pottery store.  To learn more about my process, visit my raku firing page.