Raku is a Japanese word that can be translated as enjoyment, happiness, or comfort.
In 1580, the potter Chijiro is thought to be the first to produce this form of ware. He developed a low-fire pottery process in which he placed ware directly into a red-hot kiln, then once the glazes had melted, removing the ware from the still red-hot kiln and allowing the pottery to cool outside the kiln.
In 1940, British potter Bernard Leach published A Potter’s Book in which he described his introduction to the process of Raku.
I was both extremely fortunate and privileged to be taught Raku by Mick Morgan and later spent a weekend with him learning to build my first Raku kiln.
Today, we use a firing process where pots are fired in a gas kiln up to between 900°c and 1000°c, then removed from the kiln glowing hot and immersed into a variety of combustible materials creating smoke and then into cold water.
This heavy carbonisation together with a variety of glazes produces a wide range of surfaces.
Included in this process is what is known as “Naked Raku”, were we expose the actual skin of the ceramic item, peeling off any glaze leaving the item “naked”.
RAKU items are more fragile than other ceramics and need to be handled with care, not exposed to direct sunlight and best not used for liquids or food items. Raku pots should ideally be cleaned with dry cloth or gentle hand wash and not washed in a dishwasher
“I embrace irregularities as part of the character of my work”– Joe Pintz