By Irina Jordan
Directly from the source: in this post Kevin describes what it takes to make a Raku style urn.
The whole process starts with throwing an urn - the wheel rotates while the solid ball of soft clay is pressed, squeezed and pulled gently upwards and outwards into a hollow shape. After throwing an urn and its lid, it is set to dry to leather hard - enough to handle. Then it is altered and trimmed. The lid is trimmed next to fit the urn. After that any handles (if needed) are added. Next the urn sits on a drying shelf until it is bone dry. After the urn has finished drying, it is loaded into the bisque kiln and fired for approximately 8 hours.
The urn is unloaded from the bisque kiln, inspected for cracking and if passed readied for glazing. Wax is applied to the foot, lip and lid of the urn. The inside is glazed. After that the outside is either sprayed or brushed on, stains are added with a brush or airbrush if wanted. The urn is then cleaned on the foot, lip and lid with a damp sponge and set aside for the Raku fire.
The pieces are loaded in the kiln. The Raku fire flame is lit and it takes a few hours to reach the needed temperature of about 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. After glazes reach maturity, the urn is removed with tongs and smoked in reduction chambers. After a few hours the urn is inspected for cracking, color and quality. If it passes the test, the urn is cleaned with soap, warm water and a scrub brush.
The urn is measured for the volume it can hold with a beaker, filling it with water and marking its capacity in milliliters for later conversion to cubic inches. After that the artisan's initials are inscribed and felt tabs on the bottom are glued for table protection.
Raku method is unpredictable and each Raku style urn is different and unique.
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