In this post, we are covering a pottery process called Raku, that Olive experienced with her instructor, Jeff, a few weeks ago. We were amazed by the individuality of the pieces and the crackle that appeared on them once they were cooled. The process comes from the Japanese tradition and it is one of the more exciting ways (we think!) to fire ceramics. The clay is quite a bit grittier than earthenware clay. The quick overview is that the ceramics are glazed, then heated in the kiln, removed while hot (resulting in the glaze cracking, leaving tiny fractures open to receive smoke in the next step) and then placed into a bin of newspaper or sawdust, and finally, covered for a while as the carbon particles find their new home between the cracks in the glaze. Once cooled, they are given a final scrub to get the glaze sparkly clean and increase the contrast you see between the cracks and the surface of the piece.
There are many Raku glazes that can be used, ranging from crackle to iridescent to black. Can’t wait to try it again! :0)