Raku Day 2021!

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Raku Day has been going on since 2002 at Farragut High School. For this spring semester firing the dates are Thursday, April 15th, and Friday, April 16th. It is held on the hill outside Green Wing. Ms. Love and Mr. Nelson team up to help Farragut High School students make amazing art. Ms. Love teaches students in Ceramics, Sculpture, and Chemistry (specifically Nelson’s) how to sculpt and build artwork out of clay to later fire in the Raku kiln. Mr. Nelson is the Chemistry teacher who helps the classes mix their own glaze in the lab that always turns out beautifully. This year Ms. Love is teaching an online ceramics class that is also participating.

Glossy Raku Glaze on a pot

The Raku firing process is where someone makes artwork out of Raku clay they fire it in an electric kiln where it is then bisque fired. They then glaze the pieces with a special Raku glaze, made with copper carbonate, and put it in the raku kiln that is heated up with propane for about 12 minutes. The pieces are then put in a trash can of combustibles where it sits while cooling down. The electric kiln takes 24 hours to heat up and cool down but the raku kiln heats up way faster. When the artwork is in the combustibles, which is usually newspaper, it is part of a process called reduction. Reduction is where carbon is created and reacts with the oxygen in the glaze’s metal oxides which is then stripped away. Due to the chemical makeup of the glaze the artwork created is not food safe, it is only for decoration. The colors this glaze produces are beautiful, there are many variations of raku glaze but my personal favorite is the regular glossy glaze.

I have been involved in this firing process and have taken Ceramics for three years in a row, I am now in Ms. Love’s sculpture class. Unfortunately, last year our spring semester got cut short so we were unable to enjoy it, but it is back and better than ever. If you’re interested in pottery or just making 3D artwork, the art department offers many classes where you are able to do so. If you’re interested in learning more about this process there are many other resources available online but if you’re looking to be involved or for something more hands-on signing up for a Ceramics or Sculpture class is definitely the way to go!