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For Immediate Release
April 11, 2012

For more information, contact
David Mihalyov
(585) 395-2577
dmihalyo@brockport.edu

Raku Process Teaches Alternate Ceramics Technique

Scholars Day project takes ceramics firing outdoors

Brockport, NY – A technique originated in 16th century Japan still fires the imaginations of student ceramists at The College at Brockport, State University of New York.

A raku firing process demonstration took place outside of the Tower Fine Arts building as part of the College’s Scholars Day activities. Nine undergraduate students participated in the firing, which was being coordinated by Associate Professor of Art Lori Mills.

Mills said that this is the first time in several years the College has done a raku firing at Scholars Day, and that it has never been the subject of a traditional class. “This is another way for students to learn another firing technique and to work with clay of a different composite,” she said.

The raku firing process, although modified, has gained popularity with ceramic artists of the West because of the spontaneity and drama inherent in the process. Pieces are rapidly fired at a lower temperature than a traditional kiln and then removed while hot and placed into containers of various combustible materials, such as papers, leaves, etc. Once the materials ignite, the container is quickly covered and the piece is allowed to cool in the smoky atmosphere of the container. After approximately 15 minutes, the pieces are sprayed with water and can be taken away a short time later.

Mills said that the combination of specially formulated glazes and the raku firing process can result in exciting colors, surfaces, and metallic luster effects. The kiln held four to five pieces for each firing, with numerous firings taking place throughout the day.

Laura Johns ’14 looked forward to taking part in the process. “I’ve never done a raku firing and I’m looking forward to getting some cool pots,” she said prior to the firing. “I like how the glazing looks.” Johns is an Art major, concentrating in ceramics.

Scholars Day is intended to publicize research, share new ideas and concepts, expand knowledge, and provide an opportunity to socialize with members of the campus community outside of one’s own department.

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The College at Brockport, State University of New York
350 New Campus Drive * Brockport, New York 14420-2931
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