The Trinidad Art and Potters Syndicate (TAPS) held their second annual Raku firing at a member studio on Saturday, September 28. Members brought their bisqued pieces, and some of the more experienced potters shared their glazes with those of who were novices.
Raku is a method of pottery which was developed in Japan in the 1500s as the ceremonial tea ware of the Zen Buddist masters. The process involves using specialized Raku clay and glazes in a Raku kiln. The outdoor kiln, heated with propane burners is quickly heated to 1,800 degrees F, which is a low fire temperature for pottery. A pyrometer inserted into the side of the kiln measures the temperature. The kiln is then lifted and the heated (and often still glowing) pot is moved with long tongs to a container, usually a metal trash can, with combustible material in it, i.e., paper, pine needles, closing the lid and allowing the piece to sit in the smoke-filled container for a bit of time. This is called reduction. The piece is then transferred with tongs to a bucket of water to set the glaze colours.
The process goes quickly once the kiln has been heated so members were ready with kiln gloves and tongs to lift the kiln, remove the fired pieces into reduction and then reload more pieces into the kiln.
Members participating at the event were Brian Brickley, Jim Lummel, Diel Gray, Bobbi Mosconi, Maria Martin, John Raggio and Susan Clark.
For anyone interested in joining the Trinidad Art and Potters Syndicate call Bobbi Mosconi at 720-988-8365.