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Raku firing is expressive, exciting and fun. Whether you’re raku firing in your own studio or taking part in a group raku firing at a school, workshop or community center, raku offers many rewards. Raku firing is one of the most exciting processes in ceramics. After you place your pottery into a raku kiln, the anticipation builds as you wait for that final moment when the intense heat begins to melt the raku glazes. When you remove the pieces when the glazes begin to melt, you can feel the heat and hear the pings your red hot work rapidly cooling, then it’s into the raku combustibles for a round of flame and smoke. Many surprises await you as you clean the surface and reveal the wonders of raku pottery.
Included in this free PDF:
How to Raku
by John Ramer Sherrill
Raku pottery is tremendously popular. The wide range of raku glazing and firing methods, and the surprises that come from every firing hold the interest of potters everywhere. While man achieve consistent results, many potters as well as students have been unhappy with their raku attempts. Here is a rundown of the basics will need for success at firing raku.
by Bill Jones
The raku ﬁring process requires a porous non-vitriﬁed clay that can withstand rapid heating and cooling without cracking or breaking from the thermal shock. By this deﬁnition, any clay that can withstand such stresses can be considered a raku clay; however, some clays will provide a greater degree of success. When deciding on a suitable raku pottery clay, your chances for success increase with bodies speciﬁcally formulated or adjusted for the raku pottery process.
by Steven Branfman
A raku glaze is any glaze you use in the raku pottery method. It doesn’t have to be a glaze speciﬁcally designed for raku, formulated to ﬁre at the temperature you ﬁre your raku ceramics to, nor homemade or commercial. Read how your raku glaze can be most anything. The key to success is understanding the raku ﬁring process and the ability to predict how a particular glaze reacts to that process.
Buying a Raku Kiln
There are many conﬁgurations for raku kilns—top loaders, front loaders, top hats, car kilns, and clam shells. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know to buy the raku kiln you need.
Pop Goes the Slip! Naked Raku
by Kate and Will Jacobson
Naked Raku gets its name because an outer covering of slip falls off during firing leaving the naked clay body behind. Discover what’s underneath by trying out Kate and Will Jacobson’s naked raku techniques.
Nature Inspired Firings
by Sinead Glynn
Want to up your raku game? Try the ferric-chloride firing technique–a unique alternative firing process that involves dipping and pouring ferric chloride onto fired clay. This technique is often used alongside other bare clay techniques and produces a wide variety of surfaces.
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Jennifer Poellot Harnetty
Editor, Ceramic Arts Daily