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Old 2008-01-26, 10:43am
Dawn >^..^<'s Avatar
Dawn >^..^< Dawn >^..^< is offline
Mmmmm....Raku
 
Join Date: Sep 03, 2005
Location: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posts: 1,473
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It's been a while since I've been on this thread and wanted to thank everyone for such nice compliments!

I have a new camera that can take videos too, and I'm hoping to do some short little video clips for different raku techniques. Sometimes I know what to do, but don't know exactly how to put it into words, so I thought a short video would be really cool.

In the meantime, let me say this about raku on the subject of Encasing -vs- Not Encasing.

Step one - This is the most important step! You need to do this whether you plan to encase or not. If you don't get this right, nothing you do after it will help. Make your bead in a neutral flame and apply your raku frit or stringer work and melt it in. Don't even think about color right now, just make the bead like you would any other bead as long as you have a neutral flame and don't let it reduce. Once you have the final shape of your bead with the raku melted in, let the bead cool to loose it's glow and to harden a bit in the center. The raku will probably be pale and brown at this point. Turn your propane / gas down real low and super heat the surface of the bead so close to the head of the torch that the flame candles lick the bead. (If you see a metallic film, you still have too much propane....you do not want to reduce it! Either turn your gas down more or crank up your oxygen.) If you turn your bead slowly in this hot, oxygen rich flame you will see a cloud like effect start to flow across the bead where the raku is starting it's shifting process. It's not colors you will see at this point but just the raku on the surface turning clear. Now that you have a good even super heat to the surface of the bead, take the bead out of the flame. If you're using a press, press it now while it's hot. If you're not using a press you can lightly marver it or just blow on it until the glow starts to go away, and then flash it back through the flame. The raku at this point should turn really dark, almost black. That's a very good thing! If it doesn't get dark, you didn't heat it enough to make it shift. Let it cool and try the super heat again. You only have a few tries on this before you burn the color out so try to get it hot enough the first time.

Step Two for Encased Beads - If you're going to encase the bead, DO IT NOW while the raku is at it's darkest! The heat from the clear glass you encase with will develope the colors for you! Don't wait until you have great colors showing to encase because the clear will only make the raku pale and you will loose those vivid colors. While your heating your clear rod to encase with, just waft your bead in and out of the flame about 4 inches from the torch....just enough to keep it warm enough to not crack, but don't let it glow or the colors will start to develope before you get the clear on! Once you have the clear on you can heat it as much as you need to to melt it in and do your final shaping. As the bead starts to cool you will see the lovely colors, and it will look even better when it comes out of the kiln.

Step Two for Non-Encased Beads - To develope the colors without encasing, you need to put your bead back in the flame just until it starts to glow red just like you' do when you flame polish. (Not a white hot glow) Then take it out of the flame and watch the colors develope as the glow starts to go away. This first attempt usually gives me reds and purples. For blues and greens, do the same thing again and bring the bead to a red glow and take it out of the flame and watch it. Once you have the colors you like, give the bead some nice even heat out in the middle of your flame, but don't let it glow again. This is just to make sure it's warm and happy before you pop it into the kiln.

Now go give it a try and don't forget to post some yummy raku photos!
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Dawn
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