Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Raku: Who knew?

Yesterday evening our D-Group, from church, got together to do something I've never done before, make Raku pottery. Raku is a type of Japanese pottery that is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. I had never actually heard of Raku until last night. One of the girls in our groups Dad, is extremely talented with making pottery so he gave us all a behind the scenes look at how he creates these beautiful, unique pieces. He had quite the impressive setup for sure!
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These are flame resistant "brick" type things that you set the pieces on in the kiln, to keep the pottery from touching.
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When we got there he'd already shaped a bunch of different pieces for us to pick from.
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We then put whatever type of glaze we wanted on it, there was a white crackle, turquoise, deep blues and coppers as well as an alligator (matte) glaze.

Mr. Butkowski told us a little bit about Raku while we waited for the pieces to come out of the kiln. Though I'd never heard of Raku, now having seen what it is, I do recognize that I've seen it many times before. (I believe that my Dad's Mom, my Grammy, had several of these types of pieces, and I'm pretty sure that she'd have enjoyed seeing all that Mr. Butkowski had made there in his shop!)
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Would you believe that the boys were beside themselves with excitement? But it might have just been the 1700 degree fire or the flaming torch that inspired them!
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While the pottery was in the kiln, we ate a most scrumptious dinner that I'd never had before either! It was called a "Cream Can Dinner". Inside the old milk can were onions, corn, rutabagas, purple cabbage, potatoes, as well as smoked and italian sausage, I must say it was delicious, and the homemade honey that went on my 3 pieces of bread, was A-MAZ-ING!
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The fall table-scape, was set beautifully, and included some of his dishes that he's made.
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After dinner we went back to fire our pieces and then scrub them to a beautiful luster! The pottery has to get super hot and comes out glowing then quickly must be placed, oh so carefully (to prevent cracking) into a covered container. After 10 or 15 minutes we took them out, then carefully scrubbed the pieces down with a brillo pad in order to reveal the beauty underneath.
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We owe a big "Thank You" to the Kinzler's and Butkowski's for showing us such a fun evening! It was a great time with friends getting to do something totally new!
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Here's a couple pics of the finished products, I do believe they turned out lovely! I can't wait to find a new spot for them in my house!
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