Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What or who is raku?

I've had this yummy little porcelain piece rattling around in my bead box for a few weeks, and last night I finally figured out what to do with it. The pendant is raku porcelain or pottery, and I honestly had no idea what that meant. I just thought it was pretty, so I did a bit of research.
"Raku" translates to "enjoyment" or "ease" in Japanese, because the clay is hand-molded. It originated as a method for making pieces for tea ceremonies.
Raku pieces are fired and glazed at a low heat, but the difference is that they are removed from the kiln while red hot and placed in a closed container filled with combustible material like paper or sawdust to cool. This allows for random and interesting effects in the color of the piece and the glaze finish. It also allows for pieces to occasionally explode, not so good.
After about ten minutes, the container is opened and the piece is sprayed to freeze the blooming effects occuring in the glaze.
I don't know about you, but I have trouble making popcorn in the microwave without burning it. This process is fascinating and impressive, and, after learning about it, I love this little pendant even more.


  1. When I took ceramics in college Raku was by far my favorite method of firing...it's always a surprise how things will turn out!

  2. I love raku pottery. The colors are always so gorgeous!

  3. Sounds like an interesting process.. although I am a little fearful of the explosion potential. Makes for a lovely piece when it stays together though! ;)

  4. Yeah, I would blow up a city block, probably.