This summer I was brave enough to take another raku course. Raku is a kind of pottery that is fired to it's final glaze temperature rather quickly. The clay is made to withstand relatively quick temperature changes.
You start by throwing or hand building your pots. I was really interested in making some yarn bowls. I threw some on the wheel and hand built a few. The clay that we were using was really too stiff. The teacher was rather upset with the supplier for sending the wrong blend of raku clay. It was so stiff that I ended up ripping some skin off of my hands on the first day. Which is why I ended up doing some hand building.
Bill also took the class with me. He enrolled in a pottery class last winter and really liked it. I knew the teacher of the raku class and thought that Bill would learn a lot from him so I basically forced him into taking the class by getting it for him for his birthday.
After the pots have been bisqued (which is to fire them in a kiln to a low temperature to drive off the excess moisture and make them firm so they don't come apart when they get a bit wet) you put the glaze on them and put them into a kiln. The kiln is them brought up to the melting point of the glaze which is somewhere between hot and stinking hot depending on the weather. We had a hot windless day and so it was stinking hot.
And then you wait around for about 45 minutes while the kiln comes up to temperature. Beer may be involved. So may munchies.
Here are two of my pots. I focused mainly on yarn bowls and these were my two favorites.