Naked Raku

With the long weekend ahead of me I decided to continue the “summer of raku” with what is by far my favorite type of raku…Naked Raku.

I don’t really know much about naked raku, in fact I hadn’t even heard of it until about a month ago when I was watching a youtube video of a workshop Charlie Riggs gave.  He demonstrated naked raku and I was mesmorized!  So much possibility with this technique and honeslty it’s addicting! 

Armed with only this video as a refernce (there isn’t much of anything out there on the web) I dove in!  And while my finished pots aren’t quite right, I learned a lot and I can’t wait to  try again really soon.  I feel like the results showed enough promise to invest some time perfecting the techniqe, and the way the smoke paints the pots fascinates me and will definetly keep my interest for months to come.

I also left out a step that honestly I would never skip again, coating the greenware with terra-sig.  The fed-ex delivery guy didn’t get my materials here in time to make it, and I just couldn’t wait 😉 So you would normally coat your greenware with terra-sig, fire to the cone most appropriate for the clay body you are using.  (I fired to cone 4)  and then coat your pot in a special slip sludge.  This coating covers the pot and while in the kiln will dry and crack.  These cracks are where the smoke from the reduction will creep in and paint your pot!

The recipe I used was from Riggs workshop. 

  1. 5 parts lincoln fire clay
  2. 3 parts EPK (edgar plastic kaolin)
  3. 2 parts alumina hydrate

Be sure to do PARTS not by weight.

Mix that all up in a bucket and add water till the mixture is the consistency of pancake batter.  (It’s pretty thick)

Then you are ready to fire your pots.

I fired very slow to 500 degrees and then let it go up to 1200 more quickly.  I think this is where I had some of my problems.   On every single pot some of the slip fell off in the kiln.  I think Riggs said something about if it gets to hot too fast then the slip would blow right off.  I’ll experiment with the timing next time and see if it makes a difference.

Then you put in a reduction pot with newspaper and work to get a hard and fast reduction.  I also struggled a bit here.  The un-slipped parts didn’t get as black as I wanted and so I added more newspaper on the next firing and the “white” parts turned more gray, so more work to do here too.

When the come out you knock off the slip and reveal *~*MAGIC*~*  This is my favorite part by the way

How fun is that?!?!

Here are the finished pots.  I have lots of work to do but lots of things went right and it was a blast!

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