Students Participate in Annual Raku Fest

Mary Devine, Reporter

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As Ana Nix ’19 traveled from NC to SC on May 4 for periods six through eighth, her Friday afternoon was a little bit different from everyone else. Instead of sitting in class, she enjoyed sunshine and warm weather doing what she loves: ceramics. She participated in the annual ceramics Raku Fest this year for the first time. 

 “Learning the process of glazing and how each thing you do within the process can affect how the final product is eye opening,” Nix said. “It’s a unique opportunity that the LT Art Department provides.” 

During the school day, students met in the SC parking lot to use an original Japanese pottery technique called Raku. Ceramic teacher Lorena Lagis helps organize the event and has been doing so for the past 13 years.  

The technique used during Raku Fest dates back to ancient Japan. The firing process was used to complete the teacups used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, Lagis said. However, LT is still making use of it today. 

“The Raku firing process produces beautiful metallic and crackle glazes that we cannot replicate in the studio,” Lagis said. “The results are beautiful.” 

The ceramic work is brought to SC and glazed there, Lagis said. They then get placed into kilns until the glaze matures, and are taken out with metal tongs and left to cool. Afterwards the pieces are placed into small metal garbage cans that hold combustible materials within them so that by the time the ceramic pieces are placed into the cans, flames ignite, and the pots sit in the cans absorbing the smoke within its crevices and cracks. 

Students were also able to create several pieces to their liking, and experiment with different glazes. For Syrus Reardon ’18, it was his fourth and final year at the event. 

“You don’t get to do it that often; it is a unique process of firing and treating the clay,” Reardon said. “There’s a sense of you seeing your ancestors doing it with all of the fire and stuff.” 

After hours of participating in the creative glaze technique, the students were able to bring their art home and display them however they liked. 

“It is a nice community that comes with it,” Reardon said.  “We’re all interested and we all engage in the process and teach each other things.” 

Next year, the tradition will continue and the art department will try to carry on its previous success. 

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