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Functional Raku - Luminaries

The first type of functional Raku that I will cover is luminaries. Luminaries can be either candle based or electric light based. All the following construction methods can be used in either case; the only exception is with an electric light you will need to create a small hole for the power cord.

The easiest form of luminary is the Simple Cylinder. To make this, throw a small cylinder about 3-4 inches wide and about 5-6 inches tall. The walls can be left solid or after the piece has dried a little, designs can be cut in the walls. An easy method of creating designs is by using cookie cutters to punch out a section of the wall. There are also small shape punches (circle, teardrop, square, etc.) that can be purchased and used to create patterns as well. Finally and x-acto knife can be used to hand cut any pattern in the wall of the piece. The one thing you will want to be careful with is not to create sections in the wall that are very narrow. These joints will very likely crack or break during the Raku firing.

The next form is the cylinder with a lid. The same basic shapes are thrown as above except lids to fit on the top are created as well. With this form you will definitely want to cut designs out of the walls to allow the light (either candle or electric) to shine through the wall. When these shapes are used you have to be careful with the lid. It will get very hot, especially if a candle is used as the light source.

The third basic form is tray with a cover, which is like an upside down version of the cylinder with lid. With this form a shallow tray is created and then a cylinder form is created it sit within the tray. The cylinder form is again decorated by carving sections out of the walls. When this form is used, the top will again get hot during use but the sides should generally stay cool.

There are thousands of variations that could be applied to these basic forms to create your own unique form of luminary.



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Gary R. Ferguson - Raku Artist

(c) Copyright 2005, Gary R. Ferguson