jewelry artist, do you incorporate ceramic or porcelain beads or pendants into
your jewelry designs? How about raku? Awhile back I purchased a beautiful raku
pendant at a bead show and, seeing how much it differed from traditional ceramic
pieces, I wanted to know more about the process.
what I learned from raku artist, Erica Ann (JustErica.com), and Steven
Branfman, the author of Raku: A Practical Approach (Ceramics Today):
pottery is placed in a cold kiln and fired slowly until the desired temperature
is reached, then the kiln is shut off and allowed to cool before the pieces are
removed. During the firing process of raku, on the other hand, the clay pieces
are taken from the kiln while they are still glowing and placed into containers
filled with combustible materials such as sawdust, dried leaves, and newspaper.
The red-hot clay ignites the combustible materials and the containers are then
lidded, creating a smoke-filled chamber.
unglazed areas of the clay absorb the smoke and turn black, and during the
cooling-down period, extreme temperature changes cause cracking on the glazed
areas. Once the clay pieces have cooled, the raku artist then scrubs the glazed
areas clean to remove the soot and ash.