Raku fires up CHS artists, chemists

       “We were lucky, not too many blew up.”
Amid snowfall, chemistry teacher Darin Smith with his chemists (potters for a day) John Slane, left, and Andrew Lesser.  
Courtesy of Sue March
A pot from the kiln, immersed in the garbage can flames.

       So said Coronado High art teacher Sue March, following an experiment last week with outdoor raku firing that combined art and chemistry students.
       The event resulted in a mix of temperatures - snow falling on the art patio while a portable kiln was heating wheel-thrown pots and hand-made clay pieces to about 2,000 degrees. The raku effect came from moving the kiln-molten pottery into trash cans aflame with newspapers, letting that burn, then popping a lid on to create a final oxygen-free effect.
       (The sudden temperature changes caused two or three lost pieces out of about 50 total, March explained.)
       Both March and Coronado chemistry teacher Darin Smith were pleased with the event, which March, a first-year teacher, hopes to do again. One pleasing effect, both teachers noted, was that the art students got interested in chemistry and vice versa.

Westside Pioneer article