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Firing our Raku Fish in March

Firing our Raku Fish in March

Months ago, I think it was last fall, maybe, (end of season brain drain) John was interviewed by Door County Living for the Spring Issue (out soon). It's a story about artists and winter in DC.  Len Villano, well known Door County Photographer was tasked with capturing those artists working this winter.  

This was a week before the clean up and firing.  We had to change the date twice due to weather: once for extreme cold temperatures and once for snow. When we finally picked a date it was supposed to be mid upper 30's and sunny.  Instead it was almost 30, windy and party sunny. 

The permanent Raku set-up was moved from the permanent pad just for this mini firing.  It took John all Thursday afternoon to set it up. Fingers and toes were crossed that a sudden blizzard didn't show up at midnight!

This is so light John didn't need any help carrying it over to the temporary site.  It's mostly fiber. During the firing, though,  John did need a second person and since I had to drive to Milwaukee he asked Mary Nelson, a Gills Rock potter and co-owner of Top of the Thumb Gifts to fire with him (have all the fun).

Everything has to be level or nothing works. Bricks aren't level and bricks on bricks are even more not level. This took forever but it sure was worth it. I watched and took pictures and offered many suggestions.  None of which were helpful LOL

One of my biggest worries was that the propane would freeze and shut down the firing.  Of course potters throughout the ages have figured out solutions to problems like this.  Hair dryers work well.  Heat guns are better!! (Seriously-don't try this at home) But since no one wants an explosion, the hair dryer was at the ready.  Fortunately, no hair dryers were needed this time.


  Six fish were fired. A few broke, three made it out all ready to hang on the wall. 

So for our first winter Raku Firing, and the first of 2019, John felt it was a success.  Moving the whole rig took less time and was easier than we thought. 

The saddest part for me was that I had to leave, so until that article and magazine gets published, I won't see any of the action. 

We've got some plans in the works for our Raku FIrings this year.  Get on the mailing list to hear about this first.

  • Post author
    Diane McNeil

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