Earlier this fall, students from D-E’s advanced Alternative Ceramic Techniques class attended a hands-on raku firing workshop at The Art School at Old Church in Demarest. Caitlyn Young, visual arts faculty member, says, “This was the second year that our students have participated in this type of all-day, off-site alternative firing workshop—and what an exciting, rewarding experience!” Participants included seniors Martin Lecole ’15 and Isabelle Wei ’15, and juniors Ali De Jarnett ’16, Dallas Devlin ’16, Isabella Monaco ’16, Nia Nesfield ’16, Kendall Sapiro ’16, and Hannah Thomas ’16.
The students brought to the workshop clay pieces that they had built in class back at D-E. However, raku techniques are unlike anything the students can do at School, explains Young. “At the workshop, they selected from a variety of unique glazes to decorate their pieces, and then the pieces were brought to a cherry red-hot temperature of 1,860 degrees,” she says. “These pieces were then placed in nests made of straw, sawdust, and newspaper, where they caught on fire. The fire was then extinguished by covering it with metal trashcans, which deprived the fire of oxygen and caused the oxidation reactions with the glazes. The end results were beautiful!”