The traditional method of making Raku pottery is to fire it in an open kiln. This method has become popular globally, and now this pottery is produced in most countries, including America.
To make Raku pottery, the kiln is heated much faster than other kiln firings. The piece is removed from the kiln with an orange glow and is put directly into a container of combustible materials, such as sawdust. This results in unique textures and colors on the surface of the piece.
Learn more about Raku pottery here.
The Origins of Raku PotteryThe Japanese invented Raku pottery in the 16th century. There was just one purpose of the Raku method – to create and promote beauty. Most Raku pottery pieces are shaped by hand rather than using a wheel. This creates pieces that are unique and beautiful.
The Differences in Traditional Raku and Western Raku PotteryThe traditional method of creating Japanese Raku isn’t the same as what’s done in Western countries. With Japanese Raku, most of the pieces are made using neutral colors such as brown and black. With Western Raku, brighter metallics are used.
There are two main types of Japanese Raku called Aka (red) and Kuro (black). When the kiln is fired up, Aka is much cooler than Kuro. Additionally, the glaze maturing process plays a role in what is created. For example, carbon deposits are sealed in lower melting glazes. Most Western Raku pieces have an Avant-Garde look.
What Does the Term “Raku” Mean?The rough translation of Raku is “Happiness in the accident.” Some people believe this name was developed by potters who loved the process of making Raku pieces.
What Clays Can Be Used for Raku Pottery?It’s possible to use any type of bisque-fired clay for making Raku pottery. However, some clays are made specifically for Raku pottery, and these will provide the best results. Using Raku clay means you have a material that will withstand the thermal shock which occurs when you take the pottery out of the kiln to cool too quickly. Fast cooling like this may cause the pottery to crack or explode.
Due to the process, Raku usually has more imperfections than what is seen in other types of pottery. While the Raku technique requires you to smoke the piece in sawdust or another combustible material, clay pottery remains hot, which prevents oxygen absorption.
Choosing the Right GlazeYou shouldn’t overlook the proper glaze. That’s because this provides your pottery with a protective coating. It can also be used to decorate or color your Raku pieces. You can use almost any low-fire glaze for this or glazes designed specifically for Raku pieces.
The Beauty and Style of Raku PotteryRaku pottery is unique and interesting. There are no two pieces that will be exactly the same, thanks to the techniques used to make them. If you are looking for a great gift or just something interesting to display in your home, Raku pottery should be considered.
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