Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Faux Raku technique beads

The 'Raku' technique has its origins in Japan.  The word 'Raku' meands 'enjoyment' or 'pleasure'. Raku pottery ware was produced expressively for the elablorate Japanes tea ceremony.  The clay is first shaped and then fired in a kiln for a longer time at a higher temperature. The first firing is called a 'bisque firing'.  It is then glazed and fired a second time at a lower temperature.  It develops a porous look.  The special low fire glaze gives it thos brilliant colors so special to Raku. Raku is a process of taking the pottery while still glowing, red hot and placing them in combustible materials like dried leafs, wood, sawdust, etc.  A carbonization process or reduction process begins when the red hot pot ignites the combustible material. It is then covered so a really smoky atmosphere is created.  Any unglazed part of the pot absorbs the smoke and turns black.  Due to the extreme temperature change, a cooling down occurs causing 'crazing' or 'cracking' on the glazed surfaces of the pot.  Because of the intense heat, the pot is covered with soot. The next step is cleaning. The pot has to be thoroughly scrubbed.  the result is a stunning, beautiful work of art which has an earthy, rustic quality.  Raku is used today not only in making pottery - bowls, plates, decorative art pieces, vases but has found its way into jewelry as beautiful, brilliant beads and pendants.
Polymer clay with its extreme versatility can be made to look like glass, porcelain, bone, ivory, wood, leather, semi precious stones and with different techniques various textures and effects can be obtained.
The first photo are beads made with the faux smooth raku technique.  I used polymer clay and alcohol inks and mica powders on textured beads. To see this video go to
The second photo are some tube beads made with the faux deep crackle raku technique

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Monday, July 26, 2010

closeups of the faux bone beads

Closeup pictures of the faux bone beads taught by Cindy Lietz faux bone technique

The first photo are the spacer beads, the second picture is of the drum beads and the last one are pipe beads.