Raku means enjoyment
and is associated with the Japanese tea ceremony dating back hundreds of
years. In the Raku process, bisqued ware is glazed, and put into a special
kiln where the temperature is raised slowly to 1800 degrees. At this point,
the glowing red pieces are taken from the kiln with tongs or gloves, and
placed in pits lined with combustible material such as sawdust or straw.
This then bursts into flame as soon as the hot pots are set down. A metal
cover seals the pot, depriving the fire of exygen...It is this oxygen poor
environment that turns the clay body smokey grey or black and the glazes
into metallic or iridescent lustres. This process is called post-firing
For the potter, the firing is filled with excitement, wonder and surprise.
No two firings or pieces are ever alike.
The cooling glaze crazes around the piece resulting in thin fracture lines which turn smokey grey in the reduction chamber.
The reducing environment of the sawdust pit deprives the atmosphere od oxygen which changes the color of the glaze, producing a wide range of metallic lustres.