Thursday, March 15, 2012

Raku Pottery

What is Raku Pottery

There are a number of quality and historically renowned brands of stoneware and handmade pottery. It takes a while to learn about the variety and type of pottery available. Among the most known are Boleslawiec polish pottery and Raku pottery.

 Raku is a method of firing clay that began in Japan during the Momoyama period, more than 350 years ago. The name Raku comes from the Japanese ideograph, raku, and means pleasure, enjoyment, and happiness - a reference to its origins in hand-formed vessels designed for tea ceremonies.

 Raku firing as practiced in America is the result of experiments begun by Paul Soldner in 1960. In Raku firing, pots are fired fast - about 40 minutes, then they are removed them from the kiln.

In raku firing, pottery dishes are colored by means of glaze and smoke. The bowls and pots are formed, dried, and then bisqued to a low temperature. Raku pottery is fired only to fairly low temperatures; the pieces will not be fully vitrified, and will not be as strong as pottery fired to higher temperatures. Raku pottery is decorative only and not for food use.

Raku has many variations and can yield many different results, even within the same firing. Some pottery bowls will have a matt finish and mild color. One stoneware baking dish will have flashes of metallic copper. A few pots will have outstanding colors in random patterns. A few stoneware bowls may break in the firing.

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