Free Pottery Demo at Zanesville Museum of Art

by Courtney Wheaton on July 20, 2013 at 11:48 am

Local ceramists came out to the Zanesville Museum of Art to teach a free Raku pottery lesson to visitors on Saturday.

The Raku technique for creating pottery originated during the 15th century by the Raku family in Japan who wanted to speed up the firing process.

"They were looking to produce wear quicker and more efficiently that wasn’t ventrified so this is lower fire wear is immersed in to kiln and it’s immediately dropped into combustibles," said Ceramist, Art Kettner.

The low temperature kiln can reach up to about to 2,000 degrees. After the pieces that were created by local artist, Ken Mccollum for the demo, baked long enough, experts put the pottery in a smaller container with lower temperature flames.

"Materials such as newspapers and wood chips are put into the fire to create a local reduction that gives the glazes their distinctive colors."

In the next few steps, guest put their pieces in water to cool, cleaned them off and let them dry before taking them home. The Muskingum County Community Foundation received a grant from the Ohio Grants Council to have this class. Kettner has his own studio at Zanesville Pottery where he creates his original art and says classes like this can inspire people to get started.

"I throw pots, make my own wear, make my own glazes and teach classes so we really try to get the community involved to try to activate the word about ceramics and the rich heritage that Zanesville has,"said Kettner.

If you are interested in making pottery as a career or hobby, both artists say you can make your own low temperature kilns by using items you find at a local hardware store including a metal trash bin, propane gas tank and insulation fiber. Being supervised is highly recommended.