Feather and Horsehair pottery has become popular in recent years especially because of their popular monochrome look. This technique does indeed use feathers, hairs from horses, humans and even lamas! Hairs and other combustibles are laid upon glowing surface of pots straight from the raku kiln, they immediately sear onto clay leaving localized carbon markings.
This process is best carried out on clay vessels that have been burnished in the green stage and then bisque fired, the smooth unvitrified surface accepts the carbon marking with the strongest effect. Combining burnished, unburnished and textured areas on a pot can also create interesting depths and contrast.
The piece is fired to between 850 and 950 C in a raku kiln, which allows immediate access to the heated vessels. The incandescent pots are removed from the kiln using long raku tongs, gauntlets and other protective gear.
It is imperative to be organised and work quickly and efficiently – speed is of the essence! The hot pottery is placed on a non-flammable surface and the selected hairs or feathers are draped onto it using long handled tongs or tweezers.
Setting the glowing pots into a “nest” of sawdust or leaves can also add an interesting smoke affect to the base of a pot. A quick sprinkle of sugar can add fine black spots to the surface.
The pieces are allowed to cool completely in the air completely, before being gently washed to remove any residue. Waxing the cleaned surfaces can then intensify the results.
It must be remembered that feather and horse hair pottery should never be considered functional ware, is permeable to liquids and is not food-safe.
A delicious snack and refreshments will be included. Please wear sensible closed footwear, long sleeves and no flowing clothing. This workshop is subject to the weather. Attendance is at your own risk!
There is nothing like a full hands-on experience, working within a group of like-minded people, and getting a good feel for the facilities, energy and atmosphere of the studio.
For those not attending regular classes at The Clay Studio, or for those who have no pieces to bring along to fire, there is an additional £20 cash charge on the day to cover the provision of us providing Bisque pieces to fire.