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  • Writer's pictureEfthimios Sifounios

The Japanese Technique of Raku Pottery

The Japanese Technique of Raku Pottery


Raku pottery is a unique and ancient form of pottery that has been practiced for centuries. This form of pottery is characterized by its beautiful and distinctive glazes, as well as its distinct firing process. In this article, we will explore the history of Raku pottery, its characteristics, and the process of creating Raku pottery pieces.


The History of Raku Pottery


Raku pottery originated in Japan in the 16th century and was traditionally used for the tea ceremony. The process of creating Raku pottery involved removing the pieces from the kiln while they were still red hot and placing them in a container filled with combustible materials. This unique firing process created beautiful and unique glazes, and the practice of Raku pottery quickly spread throughout Japan.



The Japanese Technique of Raku Pottery
The Japanese Technique of Raku Pottery


Characteristics of Raku Pottery


Raku pottery is characterized by its unique glazes, which are created through the Raku firing process. These glazes are often crackled, with intense and vibrant colors, making each piece truly one-of-a-kind. Additionally, Raku pottery is typically left unglazed on the bottom, exposing the raw clay, which adds to its unique appearance.


The Raku Firing Process


The Raku firing process is what makes Raku pottery so unique. The pieces are first bisque-fired, then glazed and fired again. After the glaze firing, the pieces are removed from the kiln while they are still red hot and placed in a container filled with combustible materials, such as sawdust or leaves. The container is then sealed, and the combustible materials ignite, creating a reduction atmosphere that produces the unique glazes and crackling patterns.


Preparing the Clay


When preparing the clay for Raku pottery, it is important to choose a high-quality clay that is suitable for the Raku firing process. The clay should be rolled out and formed into the desired shape, and allowed to dry completely before being bisque-fired.


Applying the Glaze


The glaze is applied to the bisque-fired pieces using a brush or a spray bottle. It is important to apply the glaze evenly and to allow it to dry completely before firing. When applying the glaze, it is also important to take into consideration the final color and texture you want to achieve, as different glazes will produce different results.


Firing the Pieces


The Raku firing process involves firing the glazed pieces to a temperature of approximately 1700°C. The pieces are then removed from the kiln while they are still red hot and placed in a container filled with combustible materials, which ignite and create the reduction atmosphere that produces the unique glazes and crackling patterns.


Cooling the Pieces


After the Raku firing process, the pieces must be cooled slowly and allowed to cool completely before removing them from the container. This cooling process is critical to the final appearance of the pieces and should not be rushed.


The Benefits of Raku Pottery


Raku pottery is a unique and beautiful form of pottery that offers a number of benefits. The unique glazes and crackling patterns make each piece truly one-of-a-kind, and the Raku firing process creates a strong and durable final product. Additionally, Raku pottery is relatively quick and easy to create, making it an accessible form of pottery for both beginners and experienced potters.


Raku Pottery Today


Today, Raku pottery continues to be popular, and is enjoyed by potters and collectors alike. With its unique beauty and interesting history, Raku pottery has become a sought-after form of pottery for those looking to create unique and beautiful pieces. Many artists and potters have incorporated Raku techniques into their work, and Raku pottery has become a staple in many art shows and galleries.


Choosing the Right Raku Pottery Tools and Equipment


When starting to create Raku pottery, it is important to choose the right tools and equipment. This includes high-quality clay suitable for Raku firing, a kiln, glazes, and a container for the reduction process. It is also recommended to invest in a good quality set of pottery tools, including a pottery wheel, a shaping tool, and a brush or spray bottle for glazing. Raku pottery is a beautiful and unique form of pottery that has been enjoyed for centuries. With its unique glazes and crackling patterns, Raku pottery is a sought-after form of pottery for those looking to create beautiful and one-of-a-kind pieces. By choosing the right tools and equipment and following the traditional Raku firing process, anyone can create beautiful and unique Raku pottery pieces. If you want to find out more about Pottery https://www.sifouniospottery.com/


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