|RAKU FIRING, spiritlinepottery.com|
A good studio day begins with laughter...and music, lots of music.
Oh, and Seattle coffee...about a quart... in a giant blue studio mug.
I'm Kate, a potter living in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest
who makes ceramic homes for orchids and their diverse owners.
This is my better half, AL on the right.
I'm the short one on the left with the glamour girl oven mitts
-- holding the #$#@!! smoking-hot piece of raku art.
On a good studio day my gloves only melt a little.
A great studio day on the potter's wheel is messy.
I like creative chaos and collect mess as others do stamps.
I'm regarded as a bit of a hobbit by our nice normal neighbors
who walk by with their dogs.
The day these photos were taken was one of those days...
Nice normal neighbors walk by...wave and 'smile' as one does at the
Costco lunch lady who is giving away
samples of dried seaweed...
(I always go back for seconds of those)
My overalls are usually covered in yellow or white mud,
and I wave my muddy-to-the-elbow hand if I can.
The day these pictures were taken was a day like that in our burb.
Me throwing mud...filthy...happy...
while our friend and photographic wizard, Andrew Johns was busy capturing our likeness.
It begins on the electric pottery wheel.
Pots rise from piles of clay mud.
They are manipulated, shaped, trimmed and set aside to dry.
I use strong stoneware clay for everything.
The dry orchid pots called 'greenware' are fired in our electric kiln
for 12 hours and become 'bisque'.
This piece of bisque (below) is ready for the raku kiln firing.
The orchid pots are fired in the raku kiln for about an hour, to 1850*F.
AL pulls them out with welding tongs.
The O-Pots go into metal buckets with organic cedar shavings
and newspaper printed with soy ink (thank you, Stranger Magazine in Seattle)
Soaking wet towels help the 'oxygen reduction' process work.
We wrap the towels around the lid, creating a seal.
The flames inside the bin seek oxygen in the pottery, staining it with carbon.
No two orchid pots are alike.
Seasonal wind and temperatures effects raku flame patterns.
The finished raku O-Pots are left in the bins to cool.
These pots went to California, Florida and Washington D.C.
They are ordered online and sent from our studio @