The Salty Dog Studio raku party this weekend was one of the better ones, well attended and with a good balance of beer and glaze, both put to use.
As usual the Salty Dog clay artists provided some basic forms for guests to glaze on the spot, but Greg Federighi went beyond that and did a whole suite of thrown and formed rocket shapes, ranging in style from Italian bell towers to bulbous Buck Rogers.
Skylar Flemming provided some of the most unusual porcelain forms, ranging from cats, surreal babies, and a singular hatchet.
The sight of an open kiln at the stage of unloading is something approaching awe inspiring. With the gravel alley at dusk as an urban backdrop, the orange light radiates like lava in a Hawaiian crater. Then a dance ensues with intense hot glow of glazed pots being plucked cherry orange red from the kiln with long tongs and smoothly plopped into a waiting metal garbage can full of crumpled newspaper which immediately ignites and is then quickly smothered with the lid. Eyes wincing from the wafts of acrid smoke and heat.
After about 20 minutes of smoldering in the closed can, the tongs again retrieve the pieces and they’re then immersed in a large basin of water with resultant steam and ash released in the process. They are still quite hot and remain that way for a bit.
This party is a tradition started by the late Regnor Reinholsten, who moved his studio here about 10 years ago, and brought the tradition with him.