HANNIBAL - Hannibal High School art students recently participated in a transformational lesson during a raku firing demonstration.

The ancient technique transformed dozens of clay pieces into unique ceramic products, all with different glazes and finishes. In a matter of minutes, employees from Clayscapes Pottery took the student-sculpted clay, heated it in a kiln to 1,800 degrees, added it to a burn barrel, and cooled the glowing hot work in a bucket of water. The result, for the students, was a one-of-a-kind work of art.

“Raku firing is such a different way of doing things,” said high school art teacher Lauren Boyer. “Rather than have the clay heat over a long period of time, this is instant gratification. They get to be an active part of the process and the pieces came out great.”

This year, students also had an opportunity to customize their work by applying horse hair to the still-hot clay. Once pieces were removed from the kiln, students took horse hair and laid it on their pottery. This technique created lines and localized carbon markings, giving each piece an even more unique look, Boyer noted.

“The horse hair technique was new this year, and we’re so happy with how everything came out,” Boyer said. “This is a great learning opportunity for our students and they come away with a lasting piece of artwork.”

Hannibal High School ceramics students place hay into a scorching hot barrel filled with pottery as part of the raku firing process.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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