What is Raku?
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Raku
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Raku ( pronounced râ koo´ ) is a pottery-making process developed in 16th-century Japan, where raku pots were prized tea ceremony vessels.
The raku process has changed over the centuries, but it still refers to pottery that is fired quickly and then pulled from the red-hot kiln to be rapidly cooled by plunging in water or a metal bucket of dried leaves or sawdust.

Besides being one of the most exciting ways to fire pottery, a good raku firing results in pots with dramatic fire marks and beautiful iridescent glazes with characteristic crackle patterns.

Raku is a very unique ceramic firing process. The formula used for the glazes often contain a lot of copper. Each piece is fired in a kiln until it reaches approximately 1800F degrees.
One of my pieces just out of the reduction atmosphere!

Click here or on the picture to see the finished piece
At that time, the piece is carefully removed, with long tongs, and placed in a paper lined metal can. The heat from the piece ignites the paper, causing a reaction with the copper in the glaze.
Putting fired pieces into metal trash cans filled with paper

Pieces taken out of kiln and put into trash cans full of paper
The result is a wide range of colors on the surface of the piece. The metal can is covered with a lid, and the ware is allowed to cool for a while in the reduction atmosphere (until it is cool enough to handle).

The piece is then removed from the can and the beautiful colors, lusters, and patterns are revealed. After a little cleaning to remove excess carbon the true beauty of the piece can be enjoyed.

Each piece of raku is a one of a kind work of art!
 
Go to my Raku slideshow >>
 
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