primalmommy on mon 2 jun 03
I've had Marc Ward's article from clay times folded over for a long time
but haven't gotten to the project...
So yesterday hubby gave me a jump start, found a hole saw to cut a hole
in the side of my salvaged kiln carcass... I propped up the weed burner
on some bricks and fired it up, nice and slow since things looked damp
and spiderwebby in there. I put in a little test cone of some local clay
that's bisqued at 06 but a glassy green puddle at 6.. and a bunch of low
test bars (like 22 and 018 and up.) I decided to let it go for two hours
while I puttered around the garden and studio, and checked with the
pyrometer or cranked it up every once in a while and wrote it down. Jeff
is supportive but never gets too involved -- but he was fascinated by
this whole thing. Checked the pyrometer like every 5 minutes ("you need
more data points to graph the increase!") That's my science nerd.
Little did I know it would get to cone 4! It would have kept going if I
didn't turn it off. My wimpy test bars are tiny black puddles... my
local clay bent over, gone glassy green... a log full of notes about
where the temp went when I opened the damper a bit, or closed it...
moved the burner forward or back... baby steps, compared to the veteran
fire-eaters on this list, but my little synapses were firing.
Here's my question: now that I have this fun, fast, cheap new toy (so
unlike my cavernous, expensive, predictable electric) -- what can I do
with it? I appreciate the raku of others but have no driving need to
make the traditional kind, especially as I am a bit over-cautious about
toxic glaze materials or fumes (especially with the kids/nest of
birds/veggie garden nearby.)
I DO love saggar fired stuff, terra sigs and salt fired stuff, little
artifacty looking pieces and shiny black smothered-bonfire stuff like
Vince does... I love the idea of Dannon's paper saggars, and like the
look of crackled white glaze and smoky marks. I am wondering what "naked
raku" is about. I'm guessing it's not like Soldner's naked claymixing,
naked partygoing, naked everything else... (as much as I have come to
love it) ... I'm guessing that for raku one would at least require
asbestos underwear. It might be impractical for those (thank you janet)
"dangly bits". Anyway, I am off to the archives to explore new
possibilities... and would appreciate any ideas for what to look up!
Yours, Kelly Averill Savino in Ohio... now able to find just the right
maturation point for my local clay without spending a fortune firing a
big, almost-empty kiln to test it.. packing my bags for Lacrosse
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Lee Love on tue 3 jun 03
----- Original Message -----
> with it? I appreciate the raku of others but have no driving need to
> make the traditional kind, especially as I am a bit over-cautious about
> toxic glaze materials or fumes (especially with the kids/nest of
> birds/veggie garden nearby.)
Raku doesn't have to be toxic. We are too brain-washed by
chicken-littles that get some kind of sadistic charge out frightening people.
Use a fritted glassy glaze made with safe materials and don't quench it in
water. It is more functional than many sagger fired works. A good fitting
shiny glaze has a better chance of being safe than a matt one with oxides on the
surface. I used a fat white glaze with oxides only on the outside. At the
time, it was the closest thing I could make to shinos (if you do post firing
reduction, the crazing gets nice dark coloring.) Some of the pieces I made
are over 12 years old and still kicking. Raku can be pretty durable if you
don't dunk them in cold water. And Raku technique isn't just low fired ware.
A friend of mine here in Mashiko fires his pots to stoneware temperatures and
does post firing reduction. He has a really fine black glaze.
I don't trust saggered fired work with salt and sulfides as well as I do
traditionally salt-fired work. You find a lot of this material that will brush
off the fired pieces.
For crying out loud, the people from the homeland of Raku are the
longest living people in the world. If raku was so bad for your health, they
wouldn't live so long. ;^)
Lee In Mashiko Ikiru@hachiko.com
"With Humans it's what's here (he points to his heart) that makes the
If you don't have it in the heart, nothing you make will make a
(As told to Dean Schwarz)
Ron Roy on tue 3 jun 03
I was going to say - you probably don't know what is going on in America -
but I think you do. I know of someone who got manganese poisoning from
I wonder if you can conceive of someone who honestly cares about other
potters poisoning themselves - who don't get any charge at all about
bringing the subject up and in fact feels it is their duty to encourage
potters to understand their materials and processes.
I have a different point of view.
I am more concerned about the potters who are brain washed into thinking it
is all safe. The truth - as usual - lies somewhere in between.
Your name calling does nothing to augment the logic of your argument -
perhaps you did not have the time to expand your thoughts in a reasonable
> Raku doesn't have to be toxic. We are too brain-washed by
>chicken-littles that get some kind of sadistic charge out frightening people.
15084 Little Lake Road
Elizabeth Herod on tue 3 jun 03
That is exciting! =20
I have a very old electric kiln here that my teacher gave me, along with al=
of her Ceramic=B9s Monthlys. Aren=B9t they fun to go through?!
I haven=B9t done anything with the kiln yet as it seems we haven=B9t had more
than one day of sunshine in the midst of flooding rains for the last two
I want to use the old kiln for saggar firing. I=B9ve been smoking my pots in
my old gas smoker, and sometimes I=B9ve used the chimenea. The smoker
generally does not get hot enough for me to get good color or the atmospher=
has too much oxygen. The smoker is good for variations of black and white,
though, but when compared to a black that comes from the pit, it seems more
I=B9ve followed Vince=B9s instructions on making the terra sig. I=B9ve made a fe=
discoveries on my own by accident. When I don=B9t like something, I just
torch off the spots and start again.
I have one pot that has been in various stages 4 times. :)
I=B9m still in search of the elusive magenta red that I have gotten only one
time. Of course that time, it was in the chimenea, and the pot blew up, bu=
it is the color I want. :)
So, I=B9ve pretty much decided that the old kiln will be used for saggar
firing. Now I need a few good days and a jump start to get it going.
Did you follow Mark=B9s instructions? Did you build the brick base and the
hole for the burner?
Have fun with the fire.
william schran on wed 4 jun 03
Primalmommy wote: raku" is about. Anyway, I am off to the archives to explore new
possibilities... and would appreciate any ideas for what to look up!
Plug in "naked raku" as a key word in your search.
Naked raku is the technique of applying a slip to bisque fired clay,
subjecting the work to raku firing, including post firing reduction,
then peeling off the slip to reveal black "crackle" lines on the
"naked" white clay body.
The slip recipe I use is: 3 parts silica & 2 parts kaolin. I apply
this rather thickly on the bisqued pot, then apply a thin coat of
clear glaze (this helps to hold the slip in place during the firing).
I find burnishing the pots helps to allow the slip to peel off easier
after firing. I also apply a coat of paste floor wax to the pot after
peeling off the slip for a nice final finish.
Lee Love on wed 4 jun 03
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ron Roy"
> Hi Lee,
> I was going to say - you probably don't know what is going on in America -
> but I think you do. I know of someone who got manganese poisoning from
> doing Raku.
Please check my original post. You pose a Straw Man. _ I_ would NOT recommend
Manganese in a Raku glaze. If you start with safe materials and use safe
technique, you are much better off. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say.
> I am more concerned about the potters who are brain washed into thinking it
> is all safe. The truth - as usual - lies somewhere in between.
To categorically dismiss Raku as unsafe is like any other irrational
prejudice, similar to racism or ethnocentrism. Actually, it is worse than
being "chicken Little."
> Your name calling does nothing to augment the logic of your argument -
> perhaps you did not have the time to expand your thoughts in a reasonable
Only wear the labile if it fits. Actually, I never heard YOU say
Raku is unsafe.
I'll quote myself below:
"Raku doesn't have to be toxic. We are too brain-washed by
chicken-littles that get some kind of sadistic charge out frightening people."
Sometimes people make money off of frightening people too.
That's even worse.
If you categorically dismiss Raku, regardless of the methods and
materials used, as been unsafe, then you are approaching materials irrationally.
It really P.O.s me when inaccurate information is promoted about
traditional methods. There's enough really dangerous things out there to
focus on without having to categorically dismissing an entire traditional
technique. We need to help people think for themselves rather than spoon feed
Just because we don't have a big gas or woodkiln in our back
yard doesn't mean we have to be stuck with ONLY electric firing. Raku is
that has a similar depth and richness found in higher fire stoneware. Also,
Low fire wood fired work is very pleasing. The French Jaspes have a warmth
that competes with high fire woodfired work. It is something I want to
experiment with in my little "Junk Kiln." I need to find some earthenware
And a wood kiln does not have to be big, dirty, or use a lot of fuel.
All these are alternative methods available to people who are without the space
or resources for a large kiln.
We have many methods to choose from, if we keep an open mind. If you
think about it, with nuclear power on the power grid, the most hazardous and
toxic material is electricity (of course, you could use solar or wind power OFF
the grid. Not many potters are capable of this.)
Nuclear waste is the most toxic man-made material we have.
But the "toilet flush" mentality keeps us from thinking about it. By "toilet
flush" mentality, I mean: if I don't see or smell the crap, because it is
flushed away by the water, I think the mess I make is clean. That's the case
with nuclear fission produced electricity.
Lee In Mashiko, Japan Ikiru@hachiko.com
"We can only wait here, where we are in the world, obedient to its processes,
patient in its taking away, faithful to its returns. And as much as we may
know, and all that we deserve of earthly paradise will come to us."
Wendell Berry , Full Quote: http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~ikiru/berry.html
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Steve Mills on fri 6 jun 03
In message , primalmommy writes
>I DO love saggar fired stuff, terra sigs and salt fired stuff, little
>artifacty looking pieces and shiny black smothered-bonfire stuff like
>Vince does... I love the idea of Dannon's paper saggars, and like the
>look of crackled white glaze and smoky marks.
You've just answered your own question.
Welcome to the happy, smoky, sooty world of the Pyromantics!
>Yours, Kelly Averill Savino in Ohio... now able to find just the right
>maturation point for my local clay without spending a fortune firing a
>big, almost-empty kiln to test it.. packing my bags for Lacrosse
>Get the FREE email that has everyone talking at