My advice is always to `Keep It Simple`
See my article in edition 10 of `Clay Craft` mazagine
Complicated shapes with lots of texture and detail don`t work so well with Raku. Obvara being an exception. Simple forms with unhindered surfaces show off the beauty of Raku glazes the best. Let the glaze do the talking ! We can perform all the techniques here at Rakudays, but you do need to have your pots pre prepared for any of these special effects.
1. Naked Raku. Your pots need to be really well burnished for this method to work properly. Use a White firing body. If you want to, apply a layer of Terra Sigilata slip when the pot is leather hard and then burnish or polish it. Burnishing can be done with a smooth pebble, old credit card, and hand finished by rubbing with a piece of plastic bag. The finished surface should be smooth and shiny. You do all this at leather hard. You can also simply burnish your normal clay without the Terra Sig. If you are able, apply a coating of the special slip to the biscuit fired pot made up of 50/50 Flint & Ball Clay, or 60/40 Flint & China Clay before the day. It is not crucial as we have the slip here, but it can help if the slip has dried thoroughly before glazing. Naked Raku is also known as Slip Resist.
Biscuit Fire to 1000 degs C.
2. Horse Hair: Exactly the same as above, nice burnished surfaces. You can also apply feathers with this process. We have the Horse Hair and feathers here.
3. Copper Fuming. Nice bottle shapes work best with this elusive technique. Narrow necked bellied shapes seem to work best. Flat items for some reason just don`t respond to fuming. The pot needs to have a cover, like a tin can, I do have covers here, but if you can bring your own cover making sure your pot fits snuggly inside then please bring it along.
4 Copper Bling. We get the best results when we part reduce the copper in the kiln prior to the reduction bins.
Shallow bowls or cup forms like being tipped upside down in the reduction to prevent oxygen getting to the glaze, so giving us a shiny bling finish. Again uncluttered surfaces are best.
5.Saggar Firing. Using Ferric Chloride, Copper Sulphate thin copper wire, Miracle Grow, banana skins etc. Masking off areas with leaves or tape ,the pot is wrapped in Tin Foil and fired to a special temperature. The foil saggars are removed, we peel back the foil and allow the pots to cool, watching the changing effects.
6.Obvara. Texture on the pots is essential for this old Eastern European technique. Heated pots are dipped into a flour & yeast solution. This mixture then cooks on the pot surface going brown & black around the textures. It smell great (like pizza!) Yet another exciting method to try here at Rakudays. Advance warning if you want to do this as I need to mix up the batter and ferment it for 3 days.