Raku with my students

About a week ago I posted about doing a raku with my Winthrop students and yesterday some one from the class was kind enough to send me some snap shots she had taken of the big event. I thought some of you may enjoy these!

At Winthrop, we do raku a bit differently than most folks. We use the electric kilns! Here is an advanced students who enjoys helping me out with this event. Yes, he is taking a pot right out of the hot kiln. I have to admit when I was first told that this was how I needed to fire the raku pots I thought "yikes, this sounds a little dangerous!" I'm all about throwing wood and salt in fireboxes but fooling around with opening lids of kilns can get a bit dicey! Marshall here enjoys that whole excitement of it all and doesn't mind wearing all the gear. I let him do all the hot stuff while I'm on the side for back-up and helping organize the students in getting the hot garbage cans out the door of our building. Once the pots are taken out of the kiln we put them into trash-cans filled with newsprint and drag them out the door. Some glazes require a burst of air blown on them for the crazing effect before being put into the cans.

Once they get outside, depending the on the glaze, we "burp" the cans to let in some oxygen and as you can see here, at times the flame will shoot back up. This creates so much excitement! The students are all so apprehensive at first but by mid-point they want to "burp" the cans as well.
Here are some of my students loading up the garbage cans with newsprint. I have a good talented bunch this semester!

Here is a photo of some pots taken right out the cans. Beginning students get so excited to be able to take something home right away and not wait for those darn kilns to cool!
Last week we were on Spring Break and I have to admit I enjoyed just working in my studio and being a Mom. I tend to like the life of a hermit where I don't have to see anyone and I can just get tons of stuff done. But after about a week, I'm ready to get back to the real world and with teaching it keeps me on my toes with all the challenges that goes along with it. I enjoy thinking up new ways to teach the same techniques. This week we will be starting on some slab built forms. I think the word "containment" may be a good place to start!


Tracey Broome said...

I thought I did everything the hard way! That's a bit scary looking, opening that electric kiln so hot, yikes is right! Those pots are really nice, are you sure that is student work! They must have a good teacher :)

Jen Mecca said...

..it is sort of scary but just because you pulling them up and out of the kiln instead of right out in front of you like a regular raku kiln. We do have a regular raku kiln but I think it needs fixing. This poor kid that likes to help me has gotten burned the last two times but he does this all the time.I'm going to bring him a mug this week to say thanks, sweet kid. ( I'm not a big raku person, rather fire up the salt kiln personally!)

Anonymous said...

wow! opening that electric kiln has got to be really hot... like casting iron or something. still looks like fun tho.

Linda Starr said...

Whoa, super great photos and pots, how exciting and scary at the same time, beautiful work, looking forward to containment. Ha.