Raku Fired Pottery

Raku is a unique method of glazing and firing ceramic pottery and sculptures to create ‘happy accidents’ of vivid colors and design patterns. It is a process much like painting with watercolor, in that the artist is working with a medium that has a life of its own and does some of its own thing, creating unusual patterns and textures.

Raku is a low-firing method where the ware is quickly heated, removed from the kiln when the glazes melt, and then some type of post-firing process applied, such as the reduction phase. Reduction refers to placing the very hot piece into a container of combustibles (sawdust, paper, pine needles, etc.) which catch fire from the ware’s intense heat. Once the flames have become active, a lid is sealed over the container to cause the oxygen to be consumed. This causes chemical reactions in the glazes that lead to a wide range of very colorful results.

The post-firing phase is usually a process of immersion in an organic combustible material to create the final affect on the glaze and clay. The craftsman must decide when and how to incorporate each step in the process, and since the results are often unpredictable, can be quite fun for them to do.  Practice, of course makes perfect, and these artisans refine their processes through trial and error as they travel their creative journeys in the Raku technique.

Glazing work for Raku can utilize all of the traditional methods of glazing such as; pouring, brushing, dipping, dripping, spraying, sponging or splashing. Glazes can be used singularly or in combinations. This process is entirely up to the artist but for certain desired results, a few materials and steps are repeated. One of these results is the method of creating the ‘copper effect’ which is featured in this post and growing in popularity.

I am especially fond of these burnished metallic type finishes. They glow. Works featured in this post have an earthy quality while being especially eye catching and dramatic.

Raku Pottery by Keri FischerPotter: Keri LaVonne Fischer

Raku Pottery by Lori CramerPotter: Lori Duncan of Nature of Clay

Raku Pottery by Lori CramerPotter: Lori Duncan of Nature of Clay

Decorative Ceramic Raku Plate Ceramic Raku Plate by Wind & Weather – Available on Wayfair!

Pat Armstrong Raku
Rake Potter: Pat Armstrong Raku Jar with Lid by Dennis Bean-LarsonRaku Jar with Lid by Dennis Bean-Larson

Raku Re-Oxidation from MIY CeramicsCheck out the process of Raku Re-Oxidation from MIY Ceramics

If you’re interested in learning more about the Raku firing process, here are some successful tips and techniques for Raku Firing from Ceramic Arts Daily.

To see the Raku firing process live, check out this video of the whimsical art of Deborah Westerfield and sculptures and pottery of Wyman Rice, as they walk us through the Raku pottery firing process.

Raku Fired Pottery was last modified: October 25th, 2016 by bcr8tive