Skip to main content

Ceramics Students Gain New Experience in Old-World Art Form

Spring's appreciated arrival allows ceramics students to congregate outdoors.
Spring’s appreciated arrival allows ceramics students to congregate outdoors.
The pots are adorned with objects that leave an imprint in the still-hot clay.
The pots are adorned with objects that leave an imprint in the still-hot clay.
Stabley aids a student's handiwork.
Stabley aids a student’s handiwork.
Look out below: Artists at work
Look out below: Artists at work
From a single medium, varied results
From a single medium, varied results

Ten students in David Stabley’s Ceramics II class this week created raku clay pots in the courtyard of the Pajama Factory – studio space northwest of campus, where the instructor of ceramics and wood sculpture has a kiln. Each student made at least two pieces, which were subjected to separate firings. “The first firing is called horsehair firing,” he explained. “The pieces were fired to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit and taken out of the kiln while still hot. Then, horsehair, sugar and feathers are burned into the surface of the pots.” The second firing is called Obvara firing and is an old method of firing and sealing the clay surface. “I mixed up a solution of water, flour, yeast and sugar and let it ferment for three days,” Stabley said. “The pots were fired to 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit, taken out while hot and dunked into the mixture, creating oranges and blacks over the pots.”
Photos by Dalaney T. Vartenisian, student photographer