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Raku workshops and hand-throwing demonstration – Saturday 25th July

On Saturday, with the Courthouse playing host to a Raku workshop and a handthrown ceramic demonstration, fingers were crossed for fine weather. Clear, sunny skies meant the umbrellas and waterproofs could stay packed away as one corner of the car park contained a raku kiln, and the other a potter’s wheel.
Harrogate College tutor Fiona Mazza took the workshop participants thorough the process of producing raku pots, from choosing glazes, decorating the pots, to drying and firing them. The fairly spectacular final stage is for the pots to be placed in a metal dustbin. The sawdust and newspaper held within bursts into flame, giving the raku pots their distinctive patterns and appearance.
The audience was shown how to create horse hair decoration, by the positioning of horse hair on the pots as soon as they were removed from the kiln. The hair sizzles and burns, leaving a lightning like decoration, and a very distinctive smell.
Young people from the Saturday Arts Club worked alongside other visitors, both producing fantastic results. By 2pm all the pottery vessels available for firing had been used, a clear indication of just how popular the session had been.
On the other side of the Courthouse car park David Oxley, also a tutor from Harrogate College, gave a very informative demonstration in handthrowing techniques. While working the clay David explained the whole process, from the mixing of clays, to the position of hands needed to shape a cone of earth into an elegant pottery vessel.
At the end of David’s talk some of the younger members of the audience took his place at the wheel and tried their hand at shaping the clay.
Throughout the day visitors had the chance to visit the Fired Up exhibition, including work from both Fiona and David, to see examples of the techniques being demonstrated.
Saturday was the last in a programme of very successful events tied into the Fired Up show and Rural Arts would like to thank the members of the Flux art group for leading the sessions over the last couple of weeks and to those members of the public who came along to take part or to visit the exhibition.