Raku Glazes
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chris_hesketh@hotmail.com

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What is Raku?

Raku is a method of firing pieces that have been previously biscuit fired at no more than 1000 deg C, glazed with low-fired glazes, rapidly heated in a Raku kiln until the glaze melts and then removed from the kiln whilst still red hot. The pots are then cooled rapidly by either sprinkling with water or placed in a sawdust bin to reduce.

It is an unpredictable and exciting method of firing and all results are unique and impossible to repeat.

The word itself is from Japan, freely interpreted as ‘enjoyment’. It was an ideograph engraved on a gold seal and given by the ruler Hideyoshi to Chojiro in 1598. Raku thereby became his family title. Chojiro is credited with being the first to produce Raku ware which was mainly used for the tea ceremony.

Clay for Raku Firing

Pieces for Raku firing should be made using a refractory clay which remains open and able to withstand extreme thermal shocks. These usually contain molochite or grog i.e. HC7 Emma’s White Raku, HC8 Hesketh Crank, HC9 APC or HC11 Magma White.

The Raku process

  • raku firing in progress raku firing in progress view through kiln vent
  • raku firing complete raku firing complete pieces have a wet or shiny appearance
  • raku firing complete rapid cooling fine crackle effects
  • reduction effects examples of different reduction effects examples of different reduction effects
     


Equipment for Raku

The essentials are

Raku kiln and gas burner

Raku glazes

Propane gas - you will need to find a local supplier

Raku Tongs

Gauntlets

Batt Wash

Kiln Batt

Sawdust bin



Ackowledgement
A huge thank you to Mary Clarke for her help, use of her kiln and continuous supply of hot drinks!
Mary’s work can be seen on her website Link icon