Firing Clay in PA!


Image Courtesy of The Spruce Crafts

Samuel Anthony, Staff Writer

Last Tuesday, October 23rd, Mrs. Preston and Mrs. Otterbein took a group of students to Pennsylvania for a field trip. I was among this group and this trip was an absolute delight. On the trip, we were able to fire pottery using an unusual technique and create raku, which is a special type of pottery. This technique requires low temperatures and a relatively quick-firing in addition to “burning” the piece by taking it out of the kiln and placing it in sawdust under a bin. This creates a piece of pottery that we would not normally be able to create at Oratory because we lack the space and equipment.

On this field trip, we created several fantastic pieces, including several pieces that were created with the help of horse-hair. With raku, we could either glaze it, which has a predetermined color set, or you could not glaze it and create a horse-hair piece. On this technique, the pottery is taken out of the kiln and put on a cement block, where the student waits for his piece to triumphantly emerge. The piece is white, but as the student applies horse-hair, the hair is burned and causes a part of the piece to become black. They can also apply other things to the piece, including feathers and cinnamon. 

On this trip, we all had such a great time creating raku. For the majority of underclassmen, it was the first time on the raku trip, so for them, it was a great learning experience. For the upperclassmen, including me, it was a blast to help the younger kids and to go on this trip for one last time.