Summer of Raku

Summer of Raku

I have decided to declare the summer of 2011 The Summer of Raku!

I have only done one raku firing before this summer and while it wasn’t the most sucessful firing, it was a blast!  So I ordered 500lbs of raku clay and I’m off to the wheel to begin creating some test pots for a firing next weekend.

My mission is to really dive in deep to the raku process and come out of the summer with some great stories, lots of laughes and shared moments around the kiln under the beautiful summer skies, as well as several dozen fantastic looking pots 🙂

If you don’t know what Raku is let me give you a little history.

According to Wikipedia,  Raku-yaki (楽焼), or Raku ware, is a type of Japanese pottery that is traditionally and primarily used in the Japanese tea ceremony in Japan.  Raku literally means enjoyment or ease.  And so not only is my decleration to have a Summer of Raku a literal one but it’s also an intention I have set for myself and my family this summer. 

To create raku pottery, a special clay body is selected that is formulated to have a high resistance to thermal shock.  This is because after an initial low firing to cone 04, the ware is glazed and fired again to a temperature somewhere between 1400-1800 degrees then removed from the kiln red-hot and placed into a reduction chamber (usually a trash can) filled with newspaper or sawdust.  The hot-pot catches the material in the chamber on fire and then the lid is closed.  You leave it there for about 20 minutes, remove, put into a water bath, clean off and WALA!  you have a unique and one of a kind piece of pottery.

There are many different types of raku glaze and techniques, and I plan on exploring them all this summer.  So stay tuned and I hope you and your family also have a “raku” filled summer 🙂