I worked on an order for a 22 inch big horsehair raku plate during the months of August and September.
It is quite a process.
First, you throw several big plates because with the shaping, trimming and drying a lot can happen.
Ferric fuming Horsehair Raku Plate “Caldera”, 22″ x 22″ x 1.5″, 55cm x 55cm x 2.5cm.
Then you have to deal with the thermal shock from hot to cold when you take it out. The plate just fitst in my 24 inch round electric kiln. I lift the plate out of the kiln with my gloves on (it is too big and too heavy to get out of the kiln with tongs), then I put it down quickly on a very porous heat resistant brick before it burns through my gloves. With such a big plate I need help. My husband picks up the plate with gloves on, rushes over to the spray booth and puts it in on the heat resistant bricks for the decoration process. This goes all very fast.
Ferric fuming Horsehair Raku Plate “Volcano”, 22′ x 22′ x 1″, 55cm x 55cm x 2cm.
Then quickly and very controlled I put on some horsehair, sugar and/or feathers and spray with ferric chloride for the brownish-orange coloring. You see and hear the piece expanding and working and of course sometimes you hear the inevitable “crack” sound! Too bad. You continue decorating until it is too cool for putting on more horsehair etc. It is fast like 1 – 2 minutes!
And when one plate cracks and brakes very nicely you continue very fast with the decoration process and try to connect both parts with horsehair running across. So even though it are 2 pieces, it will make 1 whole work.
Ferric fuming Horsehair Raku Plate “Open up your mind”, 19″ x 19″ x 2.5″, 48cm x 48cm x 6cm.