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Raku Firing Workshop


This workshop takes place at the instructor’s studio in Durham:

Liberty Arts
918 Pearl st Durham NC 27701


Bring your own pieces, up to 6, to be fired. They must be no taller than 10in and no wider than 8 inches. Because of spacing, plates and wide bowls should be avoided for this firing. Your pieces must be bisque fired to either cone 06 or 04. Glazes will be provided. Feel free to email if you have any question about specialty pieces.

All raku pieces should be created with a white cone 6 grog rich clay. For example Raku clay or buncombe white. A darker groggy clay body will mute the glazes. However a darker clay body will work for the horse hair or naked raku slip pieces since you will cover the pots with Terra sig.

In the morning you will receive instruction on how to glaze and prep for 3 different types of Raku firing. All pots should be bisque fired before the workshop.

1) Western Raku Firing –
Pots are fired to 1850F. This process involves glazes, sawdust and other combustible materials. The glazes will craze when we pull them from the kiln. This happens as they adjust to the extreme temperature drop. The smoke from the reduction chambers will create black lines in the crazing.

2) Naked Raku Firing –
Fired to 1450F the. Pots should be coated with 2-3 layers of terra sigillata to create a smooth background. This firing involves no glaze but a thick slip applied right before the piece is placed in the kiln. The slip will start to dry, crack, and slightly separate from the pot. Once it is pulled from the kiln and placed in its reduction chamber the smoke will penetrate the open cracks and leave striking lines similar to cracked desert ground.

3 ) Horse Hair Raku –
Fired to 1450F. Pots should be coated with 2-3 layers of terra sigillata to create a smooth background.  This firing also involves no glaze. Each piece, once it has been pulled from the kiln, will get horse hair or bird feathers placed on it. As the hair or feathers burn they will leave a shadow behind, creating beautiful smokey images.


Each firing has it own beauty and you will get to chose which firing and glaze is right for each piece.
As the kilns are firing we will prep the sawdust, combustible materials and reduction chamber pots for each piece, and repeat after each kiln is unloaded. After all the pieces are pulled from the kiln they will sit in reduction for 20 mins. It is here that the magic happens, and the red hot pots cool and allow the smoke to alter their appearance. After, they will be placed in water to be scrubbed cleaned.
In this workshop we will take each piece from start to finish in under 2 hrs.
Talk about instant gratification!!


Glaze Colors:

  • Clear Crackle
  • Orange Crackle
  • Cobalt Blue Crackle
  • Turquoise/ Green
  • Yellow Crackle
  • Dark Rose Crackle
  • Matte Copper (ranges from purple, blue, gold to green where the reduction happens)
  • Copper (ranges from shinny penny color to metallic black )


Since we are working around very high temps, cotton clothing, long sleeves, jeans and closed toe shoes are a must.
After the first “pull” I will demonstrate, on a cooling kiln to any student who is willing to pull pieces from the kiln with me. Any student who wishes to do so must wear a face heat shield and gloves to the elbow which will be provided.
Make sure to bring water!


All tools will be provided. If you have welding gloves and would like to bring them, feel free. Make sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or smelling like a camp fire.


We will break for lunch around 1. The exact time for lunch will be dependent on how fast the kilns fire. Bring your own lunch.

Delores Hayes – Saturday, 10am-5pm, Sept 14 (Fall 2019)

Unlike most of The ArtsCenter’s ceramics courses, this workshop does not include a bag of clay with tuition.

All ArtSchool registrations have a $3 processing fee added upon check-out.

ArtsCenter members receive 15% off the cost of this course!