HP Pelzel & Sandy Boyd-Pelzel
The raku pottery process is a very unique ceramic firing process. Special clay that can withstand thermal shock is used to create a pottery piece. After the pottery has been bisque fired, it is glazed with special raku glazes and fired to a temperature of around 1800 (F) in a propane fired raku kiln. After about 30 minutes the pottery is removed from the kiln with specially designed raku tongs while it is still glowing hot and placed in a can with combustible materials such as paper, wood chips, leaves, pine straw etc. The heat from the pottery ignites the material and after a minute or two the can is sealed. The fire quickly uses up all the oxygen and creates a “reduction stage” causing the wonderfully unique, unpredictable and spontaneous pattern of color and metallic luster. After 15 minutes or so, the can is opened and the pottery is cooled and then washed off.
Here is a link to a YouTube video of the firing that HP and Sandy did at the Cary Art Center that created these and other pieces of beautiful raku pottery: http://youtu.be/L8-LMNlubww. ~ HP Pelzel & Sandra Boyd-Pelzel