Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Raku Workshop/ Fave Things

One thing I really like to do is learn something NEW. I'm always a super-klutz at first so the REAL JOY for me is when the "light bulb in my head" finally turns on and I begin to master whatever it is I'm trying to learn. Hahaha!

On two Saturdays in September, a few friends and I attended a beginner raku workshop. We had such a GREAT time!

Never heard of raku? Here are some examples.

The first day we played with raku clay. Some of us had never worked with clay before (except as kids in school) so we tended to make simple items like mushrooms. But a few of the clever participants made masks to hang on trees or fences in their gardens and/or containers for dried flowers.

After we created the shapes, the clay had to dry and then be fired in a kiln. So two weeks later (last Saturday) we met again to paint glazes on out treasures and then fire them in an outdoor kiln (top right photo in first collage) to 1000 degrees Celsius heated with propane. (That's 1832 degrees Fahrenheit!) If you think the kiln looks a little like an old clothes dryer, you'd be right. It's a dryer lined with some kind of special insulation.

Notice the students in the next two photos are wearing pure cotton clothing with long sleeves, leather shoes, and lined leather gloves.

Once the items were up to temperature, our instructor and her helper (dressed like space creatures in goggles, leather, special lined gloves) opened the kiln and placed the items in individual holes in the ground lined with sawdust and shredded paper. We let the paper burn for a few seconds then quickly covered the holes with metal cans to smother the fire.

Yes, these are MY mushrooms set in my scree garden. ;-)

To join in the Favourite Things fun, visit Blue at Behind Kyanite's Door -


Roan said...

Your mushrooms turned out well. They do look nice in your garden. Hubby is a potter and has several raku pots he has done himself. This year, the school added a pottery class which Hubby teaches, but because of the extreme heat and open fires, they won't allow him to teach raku. I can understand the liability aspect, but it's too bad the students aren't allowed to learn such an ancient art. BJ

Becky said...

This is way too cool! I love mushrooms, and these are beautiful. How nice they look in your garden.

Carletta said...

These are gorgeous.
I love how they look in your garden.
Very nice post.

Kostas said...

Beautiful photographs, amazing the mushrooms and marvellous occupation, most excellent post, congratulations for award!

Unknown said...

That is fantastic, the mushrooms look great in your garden.

Darla said...

Your mushrooms are wonderful. I see you have a new hobby. What? You weren't busy enough already?


Kerri Farley said...

WOW! Those mushrooms are FANTASTIC! I LOVE them! I've never heard of Raku before but it looks like FUN FUN FUN!

Tanya Breese said...

What fun! Your mushrooms turned out great! You may have found a new calling :)

I remember in art class back in high school and getting to work with clay on the wheel. Wasn't as easy as it looks!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Love the mushrooms. The best part, you don't have to wait for rain anymore to have a good crop.

Looks like a fun class. I'll have to watch for one in my area.

Leora said...

I've never done raku! I've always wanted to try it. Some day.

I did pottery for about ten years. When I moved to New Jersey, I couldn't find a studio I liked. There's one at a community college a bit of a drive from here, so maybe when my kids are older, I'll start driving out there for classes.

Loved those mushrooms. It's so pleasurable when you can do great art with new skills.

2sweetnsaxy said...

I absolutely adore those mushrooms! How cute!! I've always wanted to work with clay again, even considered buying a kiln and really getting into it but if I pick up one more craft thing I'll shoot myself. LOL! Thank you so much for posting this, it touched the creative person in me. :-)

Tom said...

These are fantastic... I would love to have made them also.

Juneau Alaska Photos said...

Greetings from Juneau (Alaska) Daily Photo!
I'm so proud of you for trying something new. You did a great job. I've heard of Raku, but I've never seen such an indepth description (love the photos). Thank you so much for the lesson. It sounds like fun.:)
Perhaps you should start making mushrooms and selling them. They are wonderful. I know I would buy them.

Martha said...

Very cool! I would love to "grow" some mushrooms like that in my gardens! I love clay and pottery but am limited both in time and finances. Soon age will catch up and it may be too late altogether. I have never tried Raku that I can recall, unless it was in high school. I must make a visit to the local potter sometime soon.

Rambling Woods said...

That is so interesting and I had never heard of it. I love the mushrooms...

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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.