Experimenting with Raku Firing
On Wednesday 15th March, the Art Department, led by Art Teacher Chris Sutherland, experimented with Raku firing throughout the day and into the early evening, using the special kiln set up outside the Art Department. Raku firing is a centuries old Japanese method of firing which involves pots being removed from the kiln at 1000 degrees and then placed in bins full of combustible materials, producing unique and unpredictable qualities to the work. By placing the pots in a reduced atmosphere that is starved of oxygen, the flames draw oxygen out of the copper oxide in the glaze mixture to give a beautiful range of colours and effects. The pots are enhanced by the smoke from the combustible materials post firing. Once cooled, the grit and smoke is scrubbed off, revealing a stunning crackling effect in the surface and beautiful colours, as you can see from the video below.
Raku firing provides pupils with a fantastic opportunity to try out a different and exciting technique which is usually offered by universities, so it is fantastic for our pupil artists to learn and be inspired by new methods at this stage. Many more pupils had their work put through the kiln this year, from 4th Form, Upper 5th and the Sixth Form and we look forward to seeing their completed works, once the pots have all been scrubbed clean and refined.
The College has some highly talented pupils, who have continued to create wonderful ceramics; building the Raku kiln is part of the Art Department’s aim to help them achieve their artistic ambitions, to support and encourage pupils to push boundaries and to try something hands on and exciting.