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Naked Raku-fired Pottery

For years I have wondered about this fascinating firing technique. Although I am quite familiar with raku firing, I never tried “naked raku” until recently.

And yes, while it does sound like I am showing off for my neighbors, I am actually fully clothed while firing these pots!

Naked raku refers to the notion of using no glaze on the pots. Instead of my usual glazes, I roll the bisque fired pot in a thick layer of wet slip. The slip dries & cracks during the next firing, leaving some naked exposed areas on the pot. Once the pot reaches the desired temperature, I remove it from the kiln and place it quickly into a small container of recycled shredded paper. The fire & smoke finish the pots to form a striking black & white pattern.

Low fired naked raku and feather decorated pots.

A few of the advantages of this firing technique: the firing temperatures can be lower, thus resulting in faster firing times. I usually pull the pots at around 1300 degrees. The process is nearly fool proof, however, thicker slip seems to produce more pronounced patterns (and it is much easier to clean off the residue!) The best part is using all that slip I manage to accumulate!

For a bit of fun, I also experimented with rolling slip over a previously finished glazed pot (see the blue pot above) and the results were quite satisfying! Also pictured above are a few of my feather decorated pots. In place of the usual horse hair, I used some seagull feathers I found at the beach to swish onto the hot pots. They are a work in progress….