Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Just back from a week off. Eliu, he of the tricksy urinary tract, started peeing normally Saturday evening. By Monday, he was still at it, so I asked my mom to cat-sit and took off for the hills of Amherst Cove after all.

I hiked down to the university with my pack and my knitting and some pots and clothes and books, and boarded the DRL bus out to Clarenville. Got off at the Irving, bought Road Trip Food[1], and munched on that until my friend Jason showed up to drive me the rest of the way up the peninsula. Had a lovely few days hanging out with him and his friend Cheryl. Got to do such out-of-the-city things as stack wood and admire potato patches and kick around beaches and help with house renos.

Also, I got to make and fire my very first raku pieces. The clay studio I started out in has offered a few raku workshops over the years, but I’ve always been scheduled for a shift at the day job, so I’ve never been able to take them. And I’ve helped Jason fire a few odds and ends of his own work, but that’s really not the same as doing your own stuff. So this was a great treat. I even got to test my theory that my underglazes will be both okay and reasonably true to colour in raku (provided they’ve been bisqued beforehand).

These two came out more or less as expected:

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And these two got very little reduction, which gave them lots of greenish bits. But given the vegetal and oceanic business happening there, I think it suits the pieces pretty well.

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[1] Pepperoni sticks. There are no other circumstances under which I will eat pepperoni sticks. They are, in most contexts, perfectly vile things. On the road? They’re excellent.

Gold!

I tested the gold luster on St. Augustine’s “City of God” yesterday evening. The kiln was cool enough this morning that it could be taken out. The experiment was a success! Even coverage, no dripping, good thickness. I lustered up some more cups this morning and put them in for their firing. Should be able to take them out by evening. I’m so excited. Luster is completely new territory for me, and I was sure I’d mess it up somewhere along the way, but so far, it’s all gone very well.

While I was busy with the luster, Jason and helpful hand Denzil put a few big pieces through the raku kiln. It was a very dangerous-ceramics-themed morning. Only one smallish fireball was produced, although Jason did lose some eyebrow to the first kiln-opening.

Raku

Had an unexpected opportunity last weekend to participate in a short raku firing. Really enjoyed it, once I got past the presence of lots more fire than I’d been expecting (and I’d been expecting a LOT of fire), and the shock of being asked to move fiery buckets of fire. With my hands. The ones on my arms, connected to my nervous system. The fire wasn’t even staying in the bucket. It was all shooty-outy from under the lid.

I survived unscathed, though. Yay for leather welder’s gear. Ever since I’ve been dreaming of luster glazes, and crackle glazes, and flashing glazes… Raku sheep, raku tiles, raku jellyfish[1], raku platters.

After the gallery project. Probably also after Fresh Fish. But sometime in the next few moths, I want to get my hands on some raku clay.

[1] Just worked out how to attach the tentacles and sundry dangly bits today!