Ah Spring!  The return of Raku Season…how I have missed the fire.  This year, we are kicking off the return of Raku Glaze of the Month with Laguna’s Awabi Shell.  At our second saturday Raku event last month, I tested this glaze on Flint Hills Raku Clay samples which I reduced in 5 different types of combustable material:

• Excelsior, which I describe as the wood equivalent of pottery trimmings.  It’s often sold as packing material and I get it from Uline.  If you know someone with a wood lathe, ask them for their scraps.  It’s typically my favorite thing in which to reduce.

• Leaves, which are readily available here in Lawrence, KS.  I have yet to get so granular in my reduction tests as to determine whether Cottonwoods, Maples, Sycamores, or Mulberry trees produce the best leaves for Raku reduction….that might be an experiment for next fall!

• Gerbil Cage Liner, some people might call this coarse sawdust, or perhaps wood shavings but to me, it looks like the stuff you put in the bottom of hamster or gerbil or bunny cage.  Then again, I have young kids, so maybe I just spend too much time in pet stores.

• Sawdust, a tried and true material, inexpensive and readily available.  Any cabinet maker will give it to you for free or REALLY cheap.  Sawdust tends to create dramatic differences on your piece as it will reduce very heavily where it is in direct contact with the piece, and a lighter reduction on the air-exposed areas.

• Popcorn, which was definitely the most interesting concept.  We found an old tin of popped popcorn from the holidays that we never finished.  We were going to dump it out and use the tin as a new reduction chamber when someone said “hey, could you use popcorn as a reduction material?”  Being a big proponent of the “well, let’s find out!” philosophy, I said “Well, let’s find out!”

Laguna R-22 Awabi Shell 5# bag Regular Price: $17.25

Bracker’s Glaze of the Month Price: $15.00

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