The Ōtaki Pottery Club’s annual raku day was popular again this year, with many stunning pieces of pottery to take home.
Club members had been busy all year making and firing hundreds of pots, plaques and hanging pieces for the day. It was very successful with almost perfect weather conditions — partly cloudy with a slight breeze and over 200 people glazing their pieces for firing during the day.
Weather plays a major part in the firing process as heat and cold, very bright sun and wind all affect the glazes in the few seconds from the kiln to the sawdust beds. But conditions on the Saturday were such that the copper and blue glazes particularly produced stunning results.
Raku is a different way of firing glazed articles for a short time in an extremely hot kiln. On the open day people were invited to purchase a pot or two and apply glaze before it is fired in the special kilns used for this variety of firing. The gas-fired kilns are heated to over 1,200 degrees Celsius, the glazed pieces fired for about 20 minutes before the glowing articles are taken out and put onto sawdust, which immediately ignites; they’re covered with a tin or tray plus wet newspaper and left to “smoke” for 15 minutes. After they have cooled the artists can give them a scrub down and take home their prized work. Even the most artistically “disabled” (like this reporter) can take home a masterpiece!
“It was a good day, it was relaxing and people enjoyed themselves,” Pottery Club spokesman, Rod Graham said. “The colours were amazing, making for a really successful day.”
The prepared pieces were sold at low prices — two, three, five and eight dollars each, this makes them ideal for Christmas presents, especially for the children, some as young as two, to make as gifts for grandparents and family.