The Cracks are starting to appear…

The Cracks are starting to appear…

Hi there,

Thanks for popping in!

Just got in from a crazy day of potty pottery ! Despite the abismal weather, we stuck to the plan, had our Raku day in the rain – and actually had a total blast. Rain – Raku – BONKERS!!!

Now this is what you call dedication! Look!!!

This gives a whole new meaning to ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’

And you know that song, “Smoke gets in your eyes”? Not half !!

But we weren’t to be put off by a little bit of good old British rain! We set up camp in the garage, draped a tarp over the doors, wore hats and wellies – and just kept smiling! So many talented potters in one place! And all so modest!

Let me show you the raku process….

The pieces have already been fired once, to a bisque. Before we came to the garden, we went to the studio and glazed our pieces with special raku crackle glaze. The pieces are then low-fired for about half and hour.

Kiln is loaded with pieces of the same glaze, let’s say turquoise.
Mine’s the bowl in the middle. Spot the loch ness monster!
Half an hour later, this is what you’ve got! Red hot. And I mean RED HOT!!!
The pieces get taken out of the kiln and placed onto a bed of combustible material in a container. We use sawdust and newspaper.
It catches fire as soon as the red hot pot touches it.

The inferno container is then covered with a lid, and left for 10 minutes. This is called the reduction process. Sometime you make it burp by lifting the lid to let a lot of smoke out. The oxygen is reduced and causes the glazes to change colour and oxidize. Wherever there is no glaze, the pottery goes black. Beautiful matte black, like charcoal.

Some pieces crack, some pieces blister – this really is such an unpredictable process!

The pieces get taken out of the smoking embers and carefully submerged in water for a couple of minutes. Again, several pieces popped, cracked, blew. But the people were all so gracious. More concerned that their mini explosions might have done damage to somebody else’s work.

Then it’s time to scrub away all the charred sawdust with a scourer…

I had a really good day! Look!

Now work this out: the pot below was sat right next to the pot above in the kiln. Same glaze. Totally different. As I was saying, you just don’t know what you’re gonna get!!

Note the matte black. That is where I didn’t add any glaze to the bisque. The stripes and dots are created with masking tape and sticky dots.

And the crackling process isn’t done yet. This white glaze will continue to crackle for days to come. If you look really closely, you can see the cracks which a still lighter.
Black speckles? What black speckles?
Blimming brilliant.

I can’t get enough of this pottery! There is nothing like it for clearing the head and making the heart sing. Especially when it works! Now here’s the interesting thing: the more I do the better I get at it. And the better I get, the more I want to do!! I remember dear Elizabeth saying that when we did the podcast together, remember? She was talking about her journey with the Groovi system and parchment art. She is so right.

Time to go have a bath. I reek of smoke !!!!

Love & Hugs,

Barb xxx

25 thoughts on “The Cracks are starting to appear…

  1. Fan…bloomin’…tasting! It must be great waiting for the surprise of how things turn out. Totally ‘get’ why you love it so much….keep on enjoying! xx

  2. Wow!
    What a fabulous result. Heart in mouth moment when you take them out, heart breaking when your work has cracked or broken but amazing when it works.
    Love watching your progress.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Linda

  3. OMG they are all amazing but I have to say the orange is stunning!!! If you are selling one just let me know and I will do some overtime 😂😂. Happy post arrived this morning, thanks to all the team xx

  4. Lovely pots. You obviously enjoy yourself.
    Received my Cherry Green stamps and Groovi today so no work got done. 😻👍🐰🦉🦌
    Made a list of sales goods I wanted, good job I checked my stash as I had 5 of the 7 items on the list. This really is a very generous sale.
    Thank you Barbara.
    🍒🍒🍒

  5. Oh wow, what amazing pots! I too love the orange ones, but they are all lovely. You must be so chuffed!
    How will you decide which ones, if any, to give as gifts? They must be like your children and you can’t choose a favourite or give them away!
    Hugs. Annette X

  6. Can imagine the atmosphere when your all waiting is in anticipation of what your pots well turn out to look like wonderful sound great day but bet the smell of smoke was bad sound a great day your pots look great 👍 xxx

  7. It’s so interesting to read how the process progresses! Whenever I think of pottery, I just image Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore but oh wow! It is so much more than that. Thank you for sharing your pottery journey with us Barb 💖 xx

  8. Wow those pots look fantastic, its great when everything goes to plan or rather as you hoped as it looks like something that can’t planned fully which is all part of the fun in learning something new. Love hearing about your pottery journey.
    Thought of you tonight as my daughter & eldest granddaughter have just been to see Hamilton & have texted to say it was amazing. I have been given the task of making a dress for my granddaughter to wear in 2 weeks when she sings Burn in a musical competition, can’t wait to hear her. I shall be taking the tissues.
    Meanwhile her sister & I have had a crafting afternoon with Groovi & knitting to be continued in the morning.

  9. Hi Barb,
    Sounds like you have had a fabulous day despite the weather. The pots are lovely and I’m pleased yours turned out well without popping or blowing! I would be gutted if that happened to mine. You obviously do get so much pleasure from your pottery class – your enthusiasm shines through. Love and hugs,Alison xxx

  10. Fantastic work Barbara and the Raku process sounds so complicated but what fun, not knowing if they will come out whole and even what colour they will be. I love the orange ones, but my favourite is the first as I love that bluey green colour. It is great that you have found this and got completely absorbed in it and you are obviously good at it too which as you say makes it even more addictive. x

  11. Love the Raku process and end results…it is magical! Continue to enjoy your pottery…..always something to learn…..it is another world xx

  12. No wonder you enjoy pottery Barb, what a fabulous way to get creative and arty. Love the pots, and Sue’s piece is a really beauty. take care all. Bx

  13. Well!! ….reading and following your adventures in the garden have taken me half an hour this morning!… Fancy that!!….from a lump of clay to an unpredictable outcome of a beautiful piece of art….good on ya ! I thought you were having an autumnal BARB e que at first!! Do the shops ‘down south ‘not have pottery bowls???!!!!I know…it clears the mind!! Well!!.. I’m going to ‘crack on’ with my craft now! luv theuva Barbara.x

  14. Brilliant Barb, I’m so enjoying following your pottery journey, thanks for sharing, your enthusiasm shines through ☺️☺️

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