The Art of Raku
The Art of Raku is an ancient ceramic art form originating in Japan in the fifteenth century, where Raku pieces were initially used as part of the Zen Tea Ceremony.
Mike prefers to fire in an open air kiln, so he can quickly remove the glowing red pieces, at a temperature of appoximately 1800 degrees.
The pieces are immediately placed into cans that have been lined with shredded paper. Upon contact, the paper erupts into flame, leaving unmistakable markings in its reaction with the heated glaze on the pots.
The can is then sealed and the fire dies out from lack of oxygen. The carbon from the resulting smoke also creates unique patterns or crazings on the piece.
The rapid cooling from the hot kiln to the cool air also creates variations in the copper luster and in the swirling patterns of color on the finished piece.
The process of Raku firing involves fire and smoke. It is therefore unpredictable, making each pot a unique piece of art.