Don Chester - Don's Raku Cooling Technique
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I’m starting to do some now, what is known as black and white Raku, which is essentially white glaze over a white clay or transparent glaze over a white clay. But rather than cooling it as the Japanese originally did, I’m reducing it as I do the luster and any exposed clay goes black. So that’s where you get the black and the white thing from. And there are a whole range of things you can do. But essentially now what I do is take the pots out when they are ready. Out of the kiln, I put them into something that will burn. I use what I call planar shavings…when you mill lumber down you well you get these nice little discreet chunks of wood. I use very little of that. I have a container which has a base of sawdust and whatever in it, and I put it in and sort of put a thin skin of shavings on top. And then you smother it and put a tight-fitting lid on it and you stop it from burning and you just sort of smoke it. There are all sorts of effects you can get if you want to play with it. I leave them in for about an hour because I’m working on my own and I don’t have an assistant and also I’m working inside so I don’t want too much smoke around - too much smoke is annoying. The patterning of the copper where the copper shows depends on how you throw the sawdust or throw the shavings. When you get the right amount on just the right way it does one thing, and if you get too much it does another thing, and you think if you didn’t put any on well it should go this way…uh uh…it’ll go solid copper. I don’t for the life of me understand how you can get complete reduction on both ends of the scale, in the middle you get partial reduction, using sawdust, but that’s how it works. So you just have to know that’s what’s going to happen.

Duration: 2:15 min
Size: 9973kb

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