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what i learned in clay class today

updated sat 28 apr 07


Deborah Thuman on fri 27 apr 07

I tagged along with another clay class and did raku firing today. The
most important thing I learned is, as soon as you come home from raku
firing, immediate take off your clothes, toss them in the washer, and
take a shower. Is that smell ever going to leave my nose? The second
most important thing I learned is to take more than one granola bar if
I'm going to a most of the day firing.

I learned that raku, like life, is full of surprises. I bought a
commercial raku glaze and bought a bag of dry glaze. For the dry
glazes, the store had a string of test tiles each with a number on
them. I thought the numbers corresponded to the label on the bag.
Either I misread the numbers, or someone messed up on the label. The
turquoise burst, which was supposed to be turquoise and sort of flat,
turned into a strange iridescent metallic. I like it, but I had my
heart set on a turquoise lid for the raku penis. Because I've no clue
what this glaze is, when it's gone, I'll never be able to replace it. I
left the pieces at school so I could show the others in my class
tomorrow what I did. I hope to get photos posted on the blog before the
end of the weekend.

Thursday night, we (my husband, my teacher, and I) loaded one of the
old gas fired kilns with my sagger flower pots. My teacher showed me
how to candle the kiln. Today, the grad students helped me get the temp
up in the kiln and I learned that if the cone pack isn't in the right
place, you can't see anything when the cones melt. Good thing we had a
cone pack on the bottom and on the top. The kiln is cooling now and
tomorrow morning, I'll go open the door. I'm hoping that before the end
of my class tomorrow afternoon I'll be able to open at least some of
the flower pots and see what I made. I used steel wool, copper, and
oranges in assorted combinations. Can't wait to see what I created.