Friday, May 15, 2009

What is Raku?

Raku is a firing process that can produce a number of special effects such as metallic sheens (especially copper), crackled glazes and blackened (smoked) clay. The clay item is first bisque fired in a normal kiln and raku suitable glazes and slips are then applied. The raku kiln is designed to raise the temperature of the items very rapidly (in maybe only 15 or 20 minutes). Tongs are used to transfer the hot piece to a container (e.g. a metal dustbin) containing combustible carbon-based materials such as wood shavings, sawdust, shredded newspaper, or even dried leaves. More may be thrown on top. Once the material bursts into flames, an airtight lid is placed on top to create a carbon-rich reducing atmosphere around the pot. The raku process is only really suitable for decorative pieces since the clay body remains slightly porous making it unsuitable for functional items involving liquids or food.

Did Paul Soldner invent raku?
Not exactly. Soldner is an innovator and one of a few responsible for popularizing raku in this country beginning in the 1950's. Raku was first developed by Korean potters under Japanese rule in the 17th century. The circumstances that led to its launch and spread are somewhat of a mystery though.

Artwork i like his pieces they are calm and very nice to look at.

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