Raku pottery is a traditional style of Japanese ceramics that uses low-temperature firing and features unique glaze effects. Unlike many other types of ceramic art, Raku pottery is intended to be functional, not just decorative. Raku was also the man who first created this method of firing ceramics under special conditions to achieve specific desired effects. Originally, Raku pottery was only made by members of Japan’s Zen Buddhist temples beginning around 1580 CE until it spread throughout Japan and eventually Western Europe. While creating these pieces today, some workshops still follow methods and traditions set out by their original makers. In contrast, others take more artistic license with their work and produce non-functional pieces for display purposes.
Table of Contents
- 1 How is Raku pottery made?
- 2 How to identify Raku pottery?
- 3 Can raku pottery get wet?
- 4 How Long to Bake Polymer Clay?
- 5 Can you eat from raku pottery?
- 6 What are some common types of Raku pottery?
- 7 What are some popular raku glazes?
- 8 How do I preserve the beauty of my Raku pottery?
- 9 What are some safety precautions I should take with Raku Pottery?
- 10 Is Raku pottery valuable?
How is Raku pottery made?
Raku pottery is made using a three-step process. Clay and other materials that will ultimately become the piece are shaped and then dried. Once they have been formed, the pieces are fired once to complete the initial drying stage of the process. After this first firing, which usually takes place at around 500 degrees Celsius (932 degrees Fahrenheit), the pieces are taken out of their molds and placed by themselves in containers filled with sawdust or similar materials. This step must take place before any further steps can be carried out so it’s crucial for this step to be accomplished correctly to get good results.
After this second stage is completed, each piece is then glazed and fired again. If you already like what you see at this point, then you can move on to the third and final firing. If not, some artists will go back to make adjustments before completing the last fire.
The last step consists of placing each piece into a container filled with combustible materials like sawdust or paper and lighting them on fire. Once most of these materials have burned away, though, that’s when you begin getting exciting effects caused by the rapid cooling process that doesn’t allow for most imperfections to form. It causes the temperature inside the kiln to increase rapidly, which causes all of your hard work in previous steps to be undone in just minutes.
After being taken out of their containers, Raku potteries are cooled immediately in water or allowed to air-cool overnight. The artists will often go for the rapid cooling method because it’s faster and reduces breakage. If everything goes according to plan, though, you should wind up with a piece of functional art that features unique glaze effects.
How to identify Raku pottery?
Raku pottery pieces are distinguished from other types of ceramics by a few different factors. The most obvious difference is that these pieces have been made using low-temperature firing instead of being fired in a kiln at up to 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition to this, many Raku pieces feature contrasting glazes on their exteriors and interiors because the final high-temperature firing takes place after the piece has almost finished cooling.
Can raku pottery get wet?
Raku pottery can absolutely get wet, and it’s designed to be exposed to water and other liquids. These pieces are so durable because they’re made with materials like clay, straw ash, and wood chips, which all help make the final piece as strong as possible. This makes them perfect for serving food or drinks out of, but you still need to be careful not to put raku pottery through extreme temperature changes since that could lead to breakage.
Can you eat from raku pottery?
Raku pottery is typically made out of clay and other materials that aren’t food safe but there are exceptions depending on the type of Raku pottery and what’s been used to create it. Some pieces can be designed for serving food or drinks when they feature a glaze that doesn’t crack when dry, adjust when hot water is poured in, or when their rims don’t get too hot near a fire.
What are some common types of Raku pottery?
One very popular type of Raku pottery is known as kaki-e. It features a white glaze on most of the exterior while still having many bottom parts left clear to show the clay color underneath. The inside of these pieces is typically glazed as well and this creates a contrast that looks like beautiful flower petals. Also, Raku pottery featuring multiple colors can be found in various shapes and sizes, including vases, cups, bottles, jars, plates, bowls, and more.
What are some popular raku glazes?
One of the most popular types of glaze used when making Raku pottery is called Shirako-Tamaya. It’s named after its creator Tamaya Shobei who used a special kind of ash to create an ash glaze that is black in color. This type of glaze can be made by burning certain types of wood before collecting the ashes and mixing them with red clay slip or some other water-based substance. A different glaze called Teshio-Tamaya involves using hemp instead, which produces dry ashes with an almost blue tint when used with white slip. Some artisans will combine these two color schemes to form unique patterns on their pottery, but this combination also comes with its own risks because if either of these substances is mixed together for too long, they’ll react badly, causing the piece to break or even explode!
How do I preserve the beauty of my Raku pottery?
The creation process for raku pottery may require you to take some extra precautions in order to preserve it, but not every piece requires the same types of preservation. Most pieces made from low-temperature fired ceramics will start going through a breakdown process once they’re exposed to water or other liquids over long periods of time, so it’s best to only use these pieces for serving or drinking. If you absolutely can’t live without using raku pottery for decorative purposes, then it’s crucial that the piece is carefully protected from liquids and extreme temperature changes at all times.
What are some safety precautions I should take with Raku Pottery?
Raku pottery is made of materials that aren’t as strong as many types of traditional ceramics, and this means that they also don’t hold up as well if they’re exposed to high temperatures or harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia, vinegar, etc. Also, because raku pottery is typically not fired in a kiln due to the risk of breakage and warping, this type of art shouldn’t be used to serve food since you don’t know how safe the piece really is.
Is Raku pottery valuable?
Raku pottery usually isn’t as expensive as traditional ceramics but the price will vary depending on how it’s decorated, its size, and if any precious metals like gold or silver leaf are included with the piece. Traditional raku pottery is typically more affordable than pieces that use Shirako-Tamaya or Teshio-Tamaya because these glazes involve materials that are harder to find and the process itself requires the artisans to make multiple attempts before they can achieve the desired effect. Also, most Raku pots aren’t intended for decorative purposes, so you won’t see many designs on them unless they’re made with specific intentions like serving food or drinks.