The Mystery of Raku Pottery


Raku is a sixteenth century method of firing pottery for the Japanese Tea Ceremony.  Pottery was fired in a small wood-fired kiln, and then the ceramics were removed after they reached a high temperature of over eighteen hundred degrees. The pottery was removed, while still glowing red, with long tongs and placed in a container of combustible materials like leaves and straw.

Today potters are firing with gas or electric kilns.  The process of removing the hot pottery is the same.  The ceramics would smolder and cool rapidly after placing them in a container filled with leaves.  This rapid cooling will create a crackling effect, in the smoke filled environment.  This cracking is the nature of raku pottery.  The smoke from the leaves will fill the cracks with black from the carbon. The lack of oxygen in this environment also creates metallic lusters, and rich reds.  Red is the hardest color to achieve when firing ceramics!

         After the containers have cooled enough to handle, itís like opening wrapped presents.  You never know exactly what you will get!

Raku Firing

Ceramics ready to be pulled from an 1800 degree kiln.

See a video of group pulling ceramics from a raku kiln...

Artwerker--ceramics gallery tour by Robert L. Martin.
"CONTAINMENTNO.25"-raku fired ceramic and bronze rod assemblage.