While we were waiting for the craziness to start with the BVI version of Burning Man at Trellis Bay on Christmas, we had some time to enjoy a tour and demo at Aragorn’s Studio, that is run by a pair of British ladies. Their shop was open to the public and we were free to stroll around both the showroom and their workshop.
Outside they gave a demonstration of them “creating a fireball” or Raku Pottery. Each fireball is hand thrown on the potters’ wheel to create a hollow sphere. The design is hand drawn onto the sphere and then carved. Once bisque fired the balls are fired again using a technique called ‘Raku’ that originated in Japan in the 17th century. This technique involves removing the pots from the kiln when the kiln has reached its top temperature of 1000°C or 1800°F. Once out of the kiln, the fireballs are placed into metal trash cans containing shredded paper. The heat of the ball ignites the paper causing flames to leap up. The lid is then closed eliminating the oxygen supply. The flames draw the oxygen out of the glazes on the fireball producing the amazing metallic effects and beautiful luster seen on the finished product.