Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Raku-ing Beads in a Cylindrical Container

Here is the ceramic stoneware cylinder ready to go into the kiln. It is cone 10 stoneware which has been bisque fired to cone 04.  It's been through the raku process before which is why it is black.

 There are approximately 20 beads in there.  Notice that the stainless steel rods are bent between each bead as well as near the cylinder's holes. This is to keep the beads from bumping into each other and fusing together.

The raku process goes like this: put cylinder (or pot) into kiln. Heat to approx. 1885 degrees (cone 06), open, take out cylinder (or pot) using tongs. Place this into a trash can with some sort of combustible medium (such as sawdust or newspaper).

Let it cool down  for a half hour or so, open and be amazed.


If the lid has been pressed down tightly, sometimes the lid can be briefly opened to let in some air.  This will allow the newspaper re-catch on fire.  Closing the lid, and repeating this process can make for some beautiful effects.  It is the process of reducing and/or eliminating the oxygen in the trash can which makes for gorgeous coloration, especially if there is some amount of copper in the glaze.

Here is a side view of the container. I bent the wires on the outside so that they would be more stable.  I'm sure there are easier ways to go about this, but this is what I have done thus far.


  1. Natalie, what a great solution to a tricky problem!

  2. Marti C.10:07 AM

    What wire do you use inside the pot that the beads are on, Natlie?
    thanks, Marti C.

  3. Hi Marti,

    They are stainless steel rods, but they are very thin so they look like wire. I use a small pair of pliers to bend them.

  4. Anonymous12:10 AM

    Ok, greY idea and what size ss wire and where would you buy it?thanks

  5. Hi Peggy, thanks. You can use any size of stainless steel rod/wire. I went to the welding store to buy mine. They come in 3 foot rods which you can snip to fit whatever container you are using.