I recently had the opportunity to attend the Ceramics show at the Hillsboro Fair Grounds. It was so fun (and a little overwhelming) to see so many bisque pieces to paint! One of the things that caught my eye was the Raku pottery. I had never heard of it before and was so excited to learn how to Raku pottery pieces in the kiln. Traditionally, it is a Japanese style of firing that involves hand thrown pieces, but has also become popular in the west using pre-formed pieces. I purchased and painted this piece with the gals from Tammy’s Ceramic Shop from Rochester, Washington. They drove quite a ways to share their talents with us!
I was definitely amazed at how different the piece looks from before going into the kiln to after taking it out. It’s almost unbelieveable! The colors here look so pastel and muted. I was happy to be able to paint this Raku piece since it is something that I can’t do all the time (I don’t think my husband would appreciate me building a kiln in our backyard).
They actually had quite a few different options to choose from. I thought the little fish was really cute and fits in well with the “ocean” theme I have with my coral pieces. Some of their other popular pieces were the skull and vases.
This is what it looks like when you put the pieces into the kiln. Keep an eye on the Native American piece. That one turns out having incredibly beautiful colors! I thought it was really interesting that the paint can either get very shiny or crackly and matte. I decided to try both types and think it turned out pretty well.
Here is the fishy right after coming out of the kiln. It is incredibly hot! The owner of the pottery studio takes the pieces out of the kiln and places them in individual metal bins filled with newspaper. They put off quite a bit of smoke and smell so it’s important to wear a protective mask.
Here are all of the pieces! You can see my little fish peeking out of the left there. It looks so different! One of the really cool things (and also frustrating things) is that you never really know what you are going to get when you take the pieces out of the kiln. There are so many variables that cause the colors to change or the paint to texture. I am pretty happy with how my fish turned out, though! If I ever have the opportunity to do another Raku piece I will definitely give it a go.