It’s all about the firing
Have you ever wondered about what happens to your creations after you leave the workshop?
Their journey has just begun …
Your pieces are photographed (often with you in the frame ) and the image is uploaded into the booking system. Each piece is then carefully moved into the drying room, checked for holes and cracks, then left to dry.
The drying process can take a week, more often two, if it’s cold or humid, before the ware has dried out enough for its initial firing. Then, a low fired glaze is applied (where applicable) – before being stacked into the gas-fired, bisque kiln. A single burner, pilot light is lit and run overnight, to ensure there is no residual moisture left in the clay.
Next morning, the remainder of the burners and lit and the kiln is slowly cranked up, gradually reaching around 1,000 to 1,080 degrees Celsius (depending on the glaze that’s been applied), over seven to eight hour period. This is known as a bisque firing.
After pots have been through the bisque firing, they are ready for the Raku process.
Each piece is removed from the gas kiln and will have a special Raku glaze applied. This Raku glaze has been formulated and perfected over a period of twenty-five years or longer and is a proprietary recipe.
Once the glaze is applied and parts cleaned that do not require the finish, they are stacked, a few at a time, into the Raku kiln. This process will take a full day after a full workshop.
The Raku kiln is taken to 1,000 degrees Celsius at which point, the pots are removed with tongs, and placed into a bin filled with sawdust and straw. The lid is quickly put on and the contents are “reduced” (or smoked), for around ten minutes, before being removed, one by one and hosed off.
The end result of the process is a unique rustic affect, that can only be obtained in this method. Each piece speaks it’s own uniqueness and character. The Fried Mudd Studio has one of only a small number of women in Australia who work in Raku methods and quite possibly the only studio that fires workshop attendees’ creations this way. For more information on the Raku firings click on the link.
Taste of Clay
After a few hours or the next day the pottery is ready to be turned, smoothed, and then placed in the drying room. After a week, or when the pots are dry they are stacked into the gas kiln. Pilot light is lit over night to ensure there is no moisture left in the clay. Kiln is slowing lit, and gradually reaches 1,000 degrees. This is a bisque firing.
Pots are then waxed and glaze is applied, then stacked back into the kiln for the final mid firing of 1,180 degrees. This takes around 9 hours to reach temperature. The kiln needs to be full to ensure the best out of the kiln. Pending the amount of pieces this sometimes can take a few weeks to fire the kiln.