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Students Collaborate in Science and Art

Students collaborate to make Beautiful work.

Chemistry students and Art students collaborate at Hamilton District Christian High for a group project to demonstrate a different way of finishing pottery. The grade 12 chemistry class and the sculpture class got together for a group project to make pottery using the Raku technique.

Raku is a pottery technique that has it’s origins in 16th century Japan.

The sculpture class shared their knowledge on types of clay, types of glazes and techniques for making Pinch Pots. The chemistry class brought their knowledge of oxidation and reduction to demonstrate a different way of finishing pottery.

Up to this point, the art class has always done oxidative firing of glazes in which there is plenty of oxygen for the glaze to react.  Reduction firing is when the kiln, full of combustible material, is heated up. Eventually, all of the available oxygen is used. This then draws oxygen from the glaze in the final step in order to produce a more metallic finish.
The two classes got together to make pottery and set out the glazed pots before firing. after firing, the glowing hot pottery is pulled  – over 900 degrees Celsius.  Then the pottery goes in a metal garbage can containing sawdust which bursts into flame.
When the lid goes on the can, the burning sawdust pulls oxygen out of the glaze, changing its appearance. In the photo above, both pots were fired with the same glaze.  The right side is oxidative firing, the left side is reductive firing.
See how we completed the process:
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