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The Pit Fire, Horse Hair, and Raku Pottery Process

 

The Raku Pottery Process

Robert Graydon's pottery is all his own original handmade artwork (raku and horse hair pottery), with each piece of pottery signed and dated. Most of his work is wheel-thrown stoneware or porcelain, while a small amount is hand-built from slabs. Robert fires most of his pottery using the raku fired process. He takes the pots red hot from the kiln using tongs or gloves and places them in a garbage can or barrel with a nest of straw, leaves, and pine needles. He then smothers the fire out by placing a lid on the container. Once they have cooled, they are removed, cleaned of ashes and burnt material, and are ready to be sold.

The Raku Pottery Process

Pit Fire and Horse Hair Firing

Pit Fire and Horse Hair Firing

He also fires some of his work using the pit fire and horse hair firing techniques. Pit firing involves burying a group of unglazed pots in a pit, covering them with saw dust and wood and some coloring oxides. The pile is then lit on fire and left to burn for 12 to 24 hours, leaving the pots in a pile among the ashes. The horse hair method involves taking the same type of pots hot out of a kiln and throwing horse hair on the hot pots. The hair shrivels up and burns black lines onto the white pottery.


Care of the Pottery
Raku, pit fired, and horse hair fired pottery is fragile. The clay is porous and therefore does not hold water. It is recommended to keep them inside in a cool place out of direct sunlight. To clean them, you may vacuum them with a soft-brush dusting attachment or simply rinse them with water and gently blot dry.