On the last day of the first semester, Upper School students in Ms. Dolan's Ceramics/Sculpture 2 class returned to Clay Art Center in Port Chester for Raku firing, an ancient Japanese ceramics technique that results in a unique, colorful finish.
Although known in Japan, Raku ware was started by Chôjirô, the forebear of the Raku family during the Momoyama period in the mid 16th century. A technical root goes back to sancai ware of the Ming Dynasty China.
With clay pieces they created at RCDS in hand, the students began the Raku process, which requires intricate teamwork. Some students were tasked with using tongs to move the pieces from the gas kiln to garbage cans filled with woodchips; others closed the metal lids on the cans; and others placed wet canvas atop the lids to prevent oxygen from escaping. The pieces spent twenty minutes in the closed cans amidst flames and smoke and then were moved to a water bath. Finally, the students scrubbed the surface of each piece to reveal the final result.
The trip was a follow-up to the students’ first visit to the art center, during which they viewed gallery space, learned about various Ceramic artists, and enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the kilns, glaze rooms, educational spaces, and artist-in-residence studios.
An exciting, immersive art experience!