Heather Murray

Heather has recently taken up pottery and jewelry making as a hobby and makes and fires her porcelain pieces in a little studio workshop overlooking the fields and sea in her garden.  Some pieces are ‘Raku’ fired in an outdoor kiln.  Raku is a 400 year old Japanese form of pottery firing and the term means pleasure, enjoyment, contentment’.   It is a very exciting process which involves fire, smoke, steam and water.  When cool enough to handle, the pieces are scrubbed to reveal amazing colours and crackle effects.

Heather then crafts the porcelain, bead and raku pieces into unique necklaces, earrings and brooches, which she hopes will bring ‘pleasure and enjoyment’ to those giving or wearing them.

Above: Porcelain earings

Raku and Porcelain Jewellery

 I make and fire my porcelain pieces in a little studio workshop overlooking the fields and sea, on the outskirts of Crail.  Other pieces are ‘Raku’ fired in an outdoor kiln in the garden.

 Raku Brooches and Necklaces – the making process

 Stoneware clay is prepared by kneading and fashioning by hand or with tools into the desired design for the bead or brooch.  For beads it’s important that I remember to put a hole in each piece to allow for stringing and for necklaces to think in advance how they will be hung!  When ‘leather hard’ smoothing edges and finishing can be done with a sponge and tools.

 The pieces are then ‘bisque’ fired, a first firing up to 900 C, which takes about 12 hours and then almost the same again to allow the kiln to cool. 

 The pieces are then decorated with Raku glaze – usually containing base metals which, through the firing process allow for unique and interesting results.

 Raku is a 400 year old Japanese form of pottery firing and the term means pleasure, enjoyment, contentment’.  

Here you find a brief sample of the range of Heather Murray's Porcelain and Raku necklaces, chokers and earrings. The chokers come in sets with earrings.

Below we have some samples of Raku brooches.

It is a very exciting process which involves fire, smoke, steam and water.  Glazed pieces are removed when white hot, around 1000 C, from an outdoor gas kiln and placed in a bucket of sawdust which immediately bursts into flames.  A lid is then secured on the bucket and left for around 20 mins.  This excludes oxygen from the process resulting in the interesting often metallic effects.  The pieces are then taken from the bucket and plunged into a basin of water producing much steam, sizzling and boiling.  When cool enough to handle, the items are scrubbed to reveal amazing colours and crackle effects. 

Porcelain Earrings and Pendants

 Porcelain clay is very fine and surprisingly very strong when fired, despite its delicate and often translucent appearance.

 Porcelain is prepared by kneading and rolling, and adding colour (powdered mineral materials) if desired.  Effects are created by adding one coloured clay to another, sometime placing on top, sometimes kneading together then known as ‘agate ware’.

Again the pieces are fashioned into the desired shapes for the jewellery design, left to become ‘leather hard’ and finished with a sponge.  The pieces are then usually fired twice – one ‘bisque’ firing and a final firing up to 1300 C, with ‘tidying up’ between and after firings.

 Making into Jewellery

I then craft the porcelain, bead and Raku pieces into necklaces, earrings and brooches, using silver and silver plated findings, leather and waxed cotton.  Each piece is unique, which I hope will bring ‘pleasure and enjoyment’ to those giving or wearing them.

Not content to leave it there, Heather & Bob are doing extensive studies into the works of the third world crafts people which should prove quite interesting when we see the interpretations.

On your left are Raku necklaces. For more detailed images of anything you wish to purchase, please email us and we'll send you photos.

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