During our time at the studio we made pots to be raku fired. The normal raku firing I’ve done before but we were also given the opportunity to do an Oil fired Raku. This process starts the same as a normal raku process. The raku kiln is fired to a temperature of around 1000 degrees but instead of putting the pots into saw dust, a metal box is placed over the kiln and used diesel oil is poured in which in turn creates a lot of thick black/green smoke. This process is not very environmentally friendly and would not be a process that I would be able to do at home which is why I wanted to do it here.
Oil raku requires no glaze, instead you burnish the pot to give a smooth finish. I some cases pattern can be added to get a tonal effect on the finished pot. I burnished a porcelain thrown vessel but didn’t add any pattern.
Images show the kiln being opened at top temperature, then with the metal box being placed on. Then the diesel oil being poured in with the smoke billowing out.
The kiln was opened the day after giving plenty of time to cool down. The pots all had a coating of soot on them making them look very interesting. I had initially glazed some of my pots in the raku glaze but there was not enough space in the raku firing so they got put into this kiln.
I liked the effect of the oil raku, the finished pots looked metallic. However this process is not something that I would be able to re-create, it also does not fully work with my project as I’m mainly working with colours.
These were my raku fired pots. I’m happy with the set of 6 although they did not crackle as much as I’d hoped. That was due to them not being covered in sawdust straight away. I thought if they were left out longer the colour would intensify however they were on the bottom shelf of the kiln so had already been cooling before being brought out.
I love the effect raku gives and I would like to do more at Uni. If I get time I could do a series of winter raku pots. The cracked effect would be great to represent ice. I need to plan a raku firing I think!!