What is RAKU?

Raku Pot by Nancy

Raku Pot by Nancy

In case you are interested in the workshop, here’s a brief description of the process.

Raku pottery originated in Japan in the early 16th century, created by descendants of the Raku family for the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. First seen in the U.S. in the early 1960’s. the raku process was embraced for its immediacy and simplicity.
       Potters make and bisque fire pottery, glaze it, and fire it again in an outdoor kiln. As the kiln heats, the glazes come to a boil, then flatten as they become molten. At around 1800°, the kiln is opened and the glowing pots are removed and transferred to a container filled with combustible materials. In this transition, the pots are subjected to extreme thermal shock, which creates the characteristic crackle of the glazes.
       When the hot pots ignite the flammable material, a lid is quickly put on the container, which shuts off the source of oxygen. This process “reduces” the pots in an oxygen-starved atmosphere that is rich in carbon. Any crackle or unglazed portions of the pot turn varying shades of gray or black, and the rich colors of the glazes are developed.

Bowl with crackle glaze

Bowl with crackle glaze

Raku is a fast-firing technique which brings clay, heat, and smoke together in serendipitous ways, making discovery as significant as invention. Spontaneous and unpredictable results require suspension of expectations! A good release!

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 8:00 am.