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Raku Firing

Published Friday 13th of March 2015 03:02:56 PM

Bishop's Stortford College�s Ceramics students have been experimenting with Raku firing. Built by the College�s Artist in Residence, Chris Sutherland, pupils were given the opportunity to try a different, unique method of firing their work.

Raku is a more complex process than conventional firing that involves removing pots from the kiln at 1000 degrees and placing them in bins full of combustible materials that give unique and unpredictable qualities to the work. By placing the pots in a reduction 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, there are then enhanced by the smoke from the combustible materials post firing.

The College has some highly talented pupils, who have created wonderful ceramics; building this Raku kiln is part of the Art Department�s aim to help them achieve their ambitions in their work, to support and encourage pupils to push their boundaries and to try something new and different. Raku firing is usually a technique only offered by universities, so this was a fantastic opportunity for pupils to learn and be inspired by new methods. The flames and smoke created plenty of intrigue around the kiln as this technique, whilst being particularly hot, allows for firings to take less than an hour.

Students from the Upper Fifth, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth took part in the firing with some beautiful results from crackled blacks and whites to intense coppers and almost metallic looking glazes.

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