Raku Mask

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Raku firing is a fascinating process. I love the element of risk it brings to my work. The interplay of fire and reduction pushes the glazes in directions you can’t always predict. For me, opening the reduction cans is like Christmas and I’m always eager to see what’s inside. If the result doesn’t work, I can always re-fire.

A slab of stoneware clay – I think this was Trina Buff – was pressed into a face mold, then smoothed. Once bisque fired, I waxed the tree and horizon lines onto the surface. The top part of the mask was painted in a blue glaze, the bottom third was painted with a copper finish glaze.

As I recall, that day was a tough one for firing. The weather was very gusty and trying to keep the burners going was a trial. We had wind shields around the kiln, but with winds coming from every direction, they weren’t fully effective. Fortunately, the last firing of the day was the most successful and this piece came out of that load. Speaking of how you can’t always predict results: you see how the blue glaze became coppery with flashes of green and blue. The landscape fired fully copper with a bright finish.

Autumn is my favorite season (winter runs a very close second) and so it shows up frequently in my work.