Raku In The Summer
Students learn raku techniques during the summer session
Patrick Veerkamp, Professor of Art, only offers raku for ceramics during the summer session. The pictures show him assisting SU student Charles Morris as they remove and prepare his wares after being in the kiln.
Raku is a process where clay pieces are loaded into a kiln and fired at a rapid pace with the wares reaching desired temperatures. When the firing is completed, the wares are immediately removed from the kiln. At this point the glaze is molten, so tongs must be used. The wares can then be cooled (post fire reduction) using different processes. They can be cooled in the open air, submerged in water, or treated with combustible materials (such as sawdust, newspapers, or leaves).
If they are treated with combustible materials, then they are placed into a container with those materials and allowed to smoke for a certain amount of time. The carbonaceous atmosphere reacts and affects the glazes and clay and creates unique effects and surfaces to the wares. Some of these effects are metallic, crackled glaze surfaces, and black unglazed clay. When the wares have cooled, they are washed with an abrasive cleaner to remove all residue of soot and ash.