Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy New Year

Native New Zealand Rata flower

Happy New Year to everyone following this blog! I can't believe it's 2011 already - last year was a really productive and busy one for me and Katherine, and hopefully this year will be even better.

I had my 40th birthday at the weekend (I can't believe that either...) and we decided to throw a 'raku party' for my family, to celebrate. Everything went surprisingly smoothly on the day, the sun came out, and a great time was had by all.  I started the kiln in the morning and by the time everyone finished eating lunch the five pieces were ready to take out and put in the smoky bin to reduce. Everyone enjoyed watching them come out molten orange and change colour instantly as they hit the air. You get different results depending out how long you leave them out before packing them into the sawdust bin.

We all went down to the beach to cool off after that and by the time everyone came back the bottles were ready to take out of the bin and put into cold water. This step is optional but it speeds things up and adds a bit of drama, with the pots hissing and spitting as they hit the water:

Out of the bin and into the bath.

At this stage the bottles still need a good scrub to clean off the soot and show up the colours.

I should also mention that I now have several raku pieces and some large terracotta amphorae (see my last post) for sale at Bellamys Gallery in Macandrew Bay.  The gallery is only ten minutes drive or so from the Octagon - following the scenic Peninsula road that goes around the edge of  Otago Harbour - and well worth the trip.