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Re: ArtsEdNet - burnishing ceramics


From: Sidnie Miller (smiller_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Nov 17 2004 - 12:27:26 PST

I don't believe that you can raku in an electric kiln--I expect that
even at a low temp. the newspaper is going to burn away and the pots
will fire white (or whatever color the clay is). For raku you need to
fire to orange hot and then put in a small area (under a bucket) with a
combustible material so you deprive the pot of oxygen. When you burnish
a greenware pot and pit fire ( fire to a lower temp) you get great
shinyness. When you fire to temp in an electric kiln it's still a
smooth pot, but it fluffs up a bit in firing and you lose the perfect
shine. If you burnish a pot for an electric kiln you should be
concentrating on textures--perhaps have smooth beside some carved rough
areas. I've found that when you try to glaze over a burnished pot, the
glaze doesn't want to stick. You could rough it up with sandpaper first
to give it some tooth, but then what is the point of the burnishing.
Walmart has some great polished river stones for cheap that work well to
burnish. We did a San Ildefonso pit firing and our pots didn't get
great blacks, but they're sort of cool with brownish and terracottaish
spots. Anyway, we waxed with minwax for dark wood surfaces and they
look great.