It is raku’s unpredictable results and intense color that attract modern potters. These patterns and color result from the harsh cooling process and the amount of oxygen that is allowed to reach the pottery. Depending on what effect the artist wants, the pottery is either instantly cooled in water, cooled slowly in the open air, or placed in a barrel filled with combustible material, such as newspaper, covered, and allowed to smoke. Water immediately cools the pottery, stopping the chemical reactions of the glaze and fixing the colors. The combustible material results in smoke, which stains the unglazed portions of the pottery black. The amount of oxygen that is allowed during the firing and cooling process affects the resulting color of the glaze and the amount of crackle.
Wikipedia contributors,”Raku ware,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Raku_ware&oldid=788924453 (accessed July 12, 2017)
Wood-firing is a traditional process that was first introduced to Japan from Korea in the fifth century. The anagama (single-chambered kiln, wood-fired) allowed temperatures to exceed the 700 degrees previously gotten from bonfires, pit firing, etc. For many centuries the anagama continued to provide the Japanese potters with the aesthetics and ceramics that they desired. But in the early 17th century, the anagama lost its importance and was replaced by the noborigama (multi-chambered climbing kilns) for efficiency reasons. A group of potters are normally assigned shifts to cover the entire firing process over the course of 48hr or longer (some fire for several days). In my own experience. i find the whole process almost magical.
hot out of the kiln…
Pottery in this category include recently completed handmade ceramics over the last 2-3 months:
behind the scenes:
Get a sneak peak into the the work being created. Below are photos I’ve taken at various stages of the making process: