May 19, 2010

Raku Glaze Test Prep

 Wow, I actually did it!  I got yesterday's pendants bisque fired last night and glazed them up for Raku today!  I took the little kiln outside and it is heating up now.  I must admit that I really don't know exactly what I am doing here.  I put in a cone 04 and hope to catch it before it bends and turns the kiln off.  (any of you who Raku with a kiln that has a kiln-sitter... how do you regulate the temperature?)  I only have the 20-ish pieces shown above, so I should be able to handle this amount. I put them on three long kiln posts set horizontally and I hope I will be able to carefully remove the posts from the kiln with my tongs without all of the pendants falling off.  I might have to think about making some kind of kiln furniture to make this easier, but for now I hope to just see if it kind of works and how the glazes look.  I took notes (see them in the pic?) so I will know what glaze is on which piece.  Oh I hope some of them turn out!  Bouncy Raku Dance!
Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.


  1. hey..i raku in a skutt tiny electric kiln, that uses 110 not 220. the interior is 9x10"
    i take mine only up to ^06 and since i do not need flashing of the glazes i allow it to cool about 30 minutes after turning off to help with thermal cracking..^ 06 in a tiny kiln takes 2 hours on high for turn off.
    i open the lid.. use little BBQ "pits" that i toss the pieces in with newspaper..but all manner of combustibles will work..carbon will sometimes stick to the pieces worse with certain combustibles..oats work well too for small items..

  2. Spirited Earth,
    Thanks for sharing your process!

    My little kiln is an Aim88 and only needs 110 too. Its small and easy to transport outside.

    Ok, so you use a 06 cone then? Do you just watch for the kiln sitter to turn off and then wait the 30 minutes? (or keep a timer, since you know its about 2 hours)

    That's good advice about the cooling... thanks!

    I'm going to try good old sawdust in a bucket with a garbage lid, but oats sound like a fun experiment!

    Do you use bowls or racks to put your items on or do you take the whole shelf out?

    Thanks again, I appreciate your thoughts!

  3. melaine, i put a ^06 little cone in the sitter..i have a built in timer on the kiln i set it for 3 hrs..go check at 1:45 then again in 15 kiln is consistant..but i generally have it loaded the same each time..if it's lightly loaded then it may shut off quicker.i use raku tongs to lift out the rattles..but i use broken shelves for beads with hand made bead holders, i lift out the whole shelf part & slid the holders into the smoke container with the beads. you might like to try some hardware cloth( wire grid) in the bottom of your container below the sawdust to "catch" your small pieces after cooling. are you wanting flashing or just smoking for your beads?

  4. Melanie, may I ask a question? I've been reading your blog for a while now, and I love working with your beads. What do you use for the bails you fire in your beads? I had a friend ask and didn't know the answer. Thanks.

  5. Thanks again for sharing your technique, Spirited Earth! Yes, I want flashing for the glazes too! I had fun! I am planning to do it again today!

  6. Painterbel, I use a high temperature wire for making the loop in my charms and pendants. Its called nichrome and is part nickel and part chrome. It has to be able to reach the high temps that I fire my glazes to, so I am able to embed it right into the clay.

  7. Melanie, I love doing raku! I've never used porcelain or made beads for raku, so some of my suggestions might not work. My work was always pulled from the kiln in its molten state and put in a metal can with newspaper, hay and other things. For flash, I've used the glossy ads that come in the newspaper. Also, hay soaked in salt water or hay sprinkled with rock salt. Rock salt can give you incredible flashes, but use sparingly. HTH!

  8. Christine,
    Thanks for the suggestions! I can have lots of fun experimenting with those!