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April 5, 2007

:: arts + crafts for the kiddies ::

This has nothing to do with jewelry and such.

My sister, kids, and I took a short drive to Boulder City to participate in a Raku Pottery event at the Boulder City Arts Center. They had lots of unfinished pieces you could buy for as little as $5 and as much as $20. What a deal! After choosing a piece, we went outside to paint them, using all kinds of colors, which we had to go by the finished samples, since all the paint, except for copper and red, looked pretty much mint green in color. Each piece has a minimum of 3 layers of paint. However, I think Anna painted at least 7 layers.
Here are the kids painting their own creations.

Shhh! Little artists at work! It was a beautiful day to be outside (low 80s). The art center set up the kiln outside and we stayed to watch them fire a few pieces to about 1800 degrees. The pieces were removed quickly from the kiln and oxidized in cans (e.g., trashcans) filled with combustible material (like paper, wood chips and sawdust, broken branches, etc.) for a short while, and then quenched in water to cool them off. This process creates very unique pieces, none of which can be duplicated exactly. From a little research, this process is the Western raku technique, slightly different from traditional Japanese raku. Our pieces weren't fired while we were watching; they sat in the cool shade waiting to be completely dry. The kids had a lot of fun watching the fire and smoke billowing from the trashcans as they put the pieces in them.

Waiting in the shade. See? Minty green color! My final outside coating was "Christmas green." The black was "Copper Red." Noha's creation below. Again, minty green color. I think the large crystals on his piece were epsom salts they used in the paints. Here's Anna's vase. She took the longest painting her masterpiece.

We returned the following day to pick these babies up. Et voila! We had to scrub a lot of the carbon off the pieces and they smelled a lot like smoke. But the metallic sheen on all of them are so beautiful! Note, we cannot eat or put food in these bowls. They are only for decorative purposes.

I hope my kids gained an appreciation for pottery and raku after this. :) We had a great time and the people at the Boulder City Art Center were friendly and wonderful. I would totally recommend this to anyone with kids looking for something fun to do.

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