Glaze and Colour (Raku and Body Stain)

Thoughts about my work to date have mostly evolved around concepts and form;  I had given little thought to colour or glazing. A Raku session was a great way to explore a hands on glazing method as well as experiment with colour through oxidisation and reduction methods.

Glaze was applied thickly and I played around with various combinations, using gold and copper sparingly.


The firing process felt almost like a primal ritual; managing fire, wood and water in order to forge something.

The results were very pleasing, as well as being suitable for the Holburne Museum brief – some works had variations on a black glaze, similar to a basalt vase I am attracted to in the Holburne collection.

My first attempts to recreate the basalt appearance was to mix variations of black copper oxide, manganese and cobalt oxide into a clay body. Sadly my test pieces exploded in the kiln. However, I was able to discern that between 5% and 10% Black Copper Oxide would be enough to create a sumptuously dark clay body.

If a Raku firing was successful, however, I could avoid having to stain and mix specific quantities of clay body.  Raku fired objects are instantly gratifying and I need to be sure that this glazing method is suitable for the work. Some of the reduction fired glazes are bright and shiny, sating that carnal, magpie like desire we each possess.


Reflection on action:

  • Experiment with staining the clay body and assess results.
  • Successful Raku glazes: turquoise (reduction), black (reduction – a lot of glaze required).
  • Thick ceramic forms (withstand severe changes in temperature)



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