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Over the years there are a number of questions that keep coming up, hopefully this page will answer many of them, but if your question has not been answered, please email me at : stewartmoyra@yahoo.co.uk and I will email you back and add your question to this page.

 

Naked Raku is an off shoot technique from Raku. In Naked Raku a slip layer covers the clay form which is then covered with a glaze layer. In some pieces patterns are piped with a thicker clay slip between slip and glaze layers. As with “normal” Raku the piece is then fired in small batches in an outdoor kiln, brought up to temperature (when the glaze layer is melting) and pulled out of the kiln at that point(approx 860 degrees). It is then put in a metal container with wood shavings and sealed, so that the resultant thick smoke penetrates any bare clay. After about fifteen minutes the piece is pulled out of the container and doused or immersed in water. The glaze and slip layers are then REMOVED by rubbing until nothing is left except the bare clay. If everything went according to plan, patterns and/or crackle are beautifully etched with smoke into the clay. The piece will be saturated and must then be dried, which may take two or three days.

What is Raku ?

Raku is a ceramic technique (and family name of the makers) originating in Japan in the seventeenth century, used particularly in the making of tea bowls for the Japanese tea ceremony. Centuries later this technique was adopted by westerners and became associated with iridescent and shiny copper effects that can be had from the rapid reduction in the later stages. In this case glaze is applied to the biscuit ware and this glaze remains on the piece, with bare clay areas being turned black by the smoke.

What is it made of ?

All my work is made from CLAY, sometimes people think it is stone or metal, but it is clay which has been raku fired and the smoke and patterning which make it look like something else. I use Ashraf Hanna Raku body, which is a white clay that takes the extreme temperature changes of raku very well.

How do you make it ?

Most of my work is hand built, coils are rolled out and slowly added one on top of the other as the pot grows upwards from its base. Some shapes are rolled out in slabs and stiffened until they can be joined together. In Naked Raku it is very important that the surface is very smooth so I spend a lot of time smoothing the surface with wooden and rubber ribs before the piece is dried

Will it hold water ?

All raku fired works are low fired and therefore porous and will NOT hold water. However if you want to put flowers in my vessels all you need to do is use a strong plastic bag to contain the water, insert it in the vessel, leaving the mouth of the plastic above the vessel lip, arrange your flowers, add water and then carefully push the bag inside the neck. I have found that the bags in boxes of wine are great for smaller sizes as they are double thickness and made to be waterproof.

Can I leave it outside ?

As above Naked Raku is low fired and porous so you can leave it outside when it is warm but you have to bring it indoors during the winter when it is cold. If left outside in freezing temperatures it will crack if wet.

 

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