The Art Club and Trenton High School art teacher James Trush recently were approved for a grant to purchase a Raku kiln by the Trenton Educational Foundation.
Trush and fellow art teacher Richard Frye have been able to use it twice now thanks to the wonderful weather this spring. Typically it is used on a day with low wind and temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees. Temperatures that are either too cold or too hot will result in misfired works, Trush said.
This type of kiln enables a special clay firing technique (Raku) that can only be achieved with the supplies they asked for. Raku firing is done outside, and is a low-firing technique that is cooled quickly.
Once the ceramic piece is fired to a certain temperature (usually 1,600-1,800 degrees) the piece is then removed from the kiln and added to a metal container filled with combustible materials such as newspaper and sawdust.
The sawdust and newspaper quickly ignite once the piece is added. The lid is placed on container and the lack of oxygen from the smoke and carbon dioxide help produce the desired glaze finishes that can be achieved, in many cases copper, and metallic or patina looks.
Students were able to add work this past firing and in the future advanced students will be able to do a firing themselves with adult supervision.