Riverhead High School students learn the art of Raku

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05/28/2014 7:00 AM |
Riverhead High School students working with a kiln and learning about Raku. (Credit: Courtesy)

Riverhead High School students working with a kiln and learning about Raku. (Credit: Courtesy photos)

Riverhead High School art teacher Selena Pagliarulo held a ceramics workshop May 16 where her students learned about a pottery-making process called “Raku.”

Raku involves firing pottery at a low temperature and moving it to a closed container filled with combustible materials, like paper or sawdust, that ignite and cause a reaction of creating colors and patterns in the pottery’s surface, according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary.

Earlier in the school year, Ms. Pagliarulo’s students held fundraisers to hire Gina Mars, an expert in the Raku method, to teach the workshop.

Students learned about the process at the school’s outside courtyard where they fired their ceramic pieces in a very hot kiln. The art work was then placed into a container filled with burning paper.

After the art work baked, students washed off soot and ash with an abrasive cleaner in order to bring out the color of a glaze they had applied to their projects prior to placing them in the kiln.

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Students placing their art work in a container filled with burning paper.

Students placing their art work into a container filled with burning paper.

The final step of the Raku process is washing off the soot.

The final step of the Raku process is washing soot and ash off the ceramic pieces.