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Raku and Alternative Firing Video: Playing with Fire – Making and Raku Firing a Slab Built Vase

Raku firing is a huge draw for many potters (especially pyromaniac potters) because it is a firing process in which you can most literally play with fire. Raku (western style) involves removing pieces from the kiln while the glazes are still molten and placing them in containers filled with combustible materials. The resulting combustion and smoky atmosphere creates lustrous and iridescent effects on glazes high in metallic content. After many requests, today I am posting a video of a raku firing. In this excerpt from his full-length DVD “Beginning Raku,” potter Gordon Hutchens first slab builds a vase and then raku fires it. All along the way, Gordon shares his expertise with the process, covering safety and explaining the technical details. It is an excellent video for beginning raku-ers. Plus, we’ve posted some of Gordon’s raku glaze recipes and washes for overglaze decoration below. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

Hutchens’ Raku Glaze Recipes:
Copper Matt Juicy Turquoise
Raw Material Percentage Raw Material Percentage
Gerstley Borate or Laguna Borate 67 Gerstley Borate or Laguna Borate 40
Nepheline Syenite 16.5 Nepheline Syenite 20
Bone Ash 16.5 Lithium Carbonate 40
Total 100% Total 100%
Add: Add:
Copper Carbonate 5.8% Copper Carbonate 3%
Cobalt Carbonate 2.5%
Washes for Overglaze Decoration
Commercial Glaze Stain 50%
Gerstley Borate or Laguna Borate 50%
Mix the above with water
Copper Carbonate and Water