Raku is a method of firing pottery that began in Japan, 300 years ago. The name Raku comes from the Japanese ideograph, raku, and means enjoyment, contentment, and happiness.
Western RAKU, while inspired Japanese method, is the result of work by Bernard Leach and continued by Paul Soldner and others in the 1950’s. The clay is fired in such a way that creates unpredictable smoke patterns and spectacular metallic or crackle effects in the glazes. In Western Raku firing, the pots are fired quickly. Once the temperature of the piece reaches between 1650 and 1900 degrees, they are pulled from the kiln and placed it in trash can containing combustible materials such as leaves, sawdust, pine needles, and/or newspaper. The trash can cover is placed on so that the fire is smothered. The fire pulls the oxegyn from the container as it smothers and causes a chemical reaction within the glaze. This reaction, combined with the smoke gives us the metallic and flat black finishes associated with Raku.