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Raku Firing the Big Ones – Large Work in a Small Kiln

Featured Presenter: BILLY RAY MANGHAM

Alternative Firing Surfaces
October 11-13, 2013

Potters Council is pleased to have Billy Ray Mangham as one of the presenters to the Alternative Firing Surfaces! Below is an excerpt of some of his encounters with his profession in clay.


“I have been working in clay for nearly 40 years. Each day brings new problems and challenges. And each day working with clay brings excitement and hope for the future of mankind as i do my little part to patch together a civilization with materials from the earth.


My wife, Beverly, is a found object sculpture artist. We have exhibited our work at juried arts and crafts shows across the nation for over twenty years. Our venues have included A.C.C. shows in Baltimore, Chicago, and San Francisco, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and many shows throughout Texas.


I am one of the five founders of the Texas Clay Festival that is held yearly in Gruene, Texas. We have presented a showcase of over 50 Texas clay workers for twenty years. I have taught workshops at the Mechosin Summer School for the Arts.” – Billy Ray Mangham 



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Alternative Firing Surfaces

Minneapolis, Minnesota

October 11-13, 2013


Raku-Firing the Big Ones – Large Work in a Small Kiln

It is a challenge to fire a thirty-six inch, 100 pound sculpture into a 24” top-loading kiln, but it can be done! Each piece is a chance to invent new tools for lifting and new ways of achieving reduction. Each firing presents unique problems and leads to a unique dance with the fire.


While demonstrating my techniques for large figurative sculpture I will discuss the tricks I’ve developed, the tools I’ve fabricated, and the lessons I’ve learned from 40 years of production style raku-firing. I will show plenty of images of tools and a few short videos of the tools and the dance in progress. I will discuss my use of commercial glazes and underglazes and my personal formulas for glazes and engobes. Participants will leave my presentation with a new way to view the raku process, some good tips on tools, glazes, and firing procedures, and an understanding of the importance of wabi sabi and flow in my creative process.


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