Firing up a unique project

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Abigail Sebahar (12) transports her piece into a trash can filled with fire. Sebahar fired three pieces.

Nicole Milaszewski

Ceramics classes stepped out of the box on Oct. 13 with their once a semester, outdoor firing.

“Instead of doing the usual firing in the kiln, we did raku firing. Raku firing is when you put your piece in a trash can that reaches about 1800 degrees for 15 minutes, then put it in a trash can filled with hay, which causes it to catch on fire because of how high the temperature was. The final step is to put the piece into a cold bucket of water to lower the temperature of the piece,” Joelle Kelley (12) said.

The unique process of making their pottery allowed students to try new methods and ideas due to the different feel the firing style gave them.

“I wanted my three pieces to balance each other out, so I made the outer [pieces] curve inwards toward the taller middle one. I also chose colors that were more on the dark side to incorporate the fire for a burnt type of look. I wanted the pieces to seem more natural because raku firing is so different that the normal kiln we use for our other pieces,” Kelley said.

With a major process change in what ceramic students are used to, some difficulties did arise.

“The hardest part would have to be moving the pieces from each trash can to another. We are so used to having to pick them up by our hands and being able to control them because they were so hot you couldn’t, you had to use tongs,” Kelley said.

While the project was a challenging tasks, students got to visualize the firing process, something that normally happens in the kiln.

“My favorite part was the second step, putting the pieces into the trash can filled with hay and seeing it catch on fire,” Kelley said.