• Katherine Fortnum

Kiln Firing Method - Raku Firing

Firing clay is the most critical part of the ceramics process because it is the one thing that makes clay durable, hence ceramic.

Raku generally refers to a type of low-firing process that was inspired by traditional Japanese raku firing.


Western-style raku involves Thermal shock from rapid cooling creating stress on the pottery. The process involves removing glazed pottery from the kiln while at bright red heat and placing it into containers with organic combustible materials which catch fire. Once the materials ignite, the containers are closed. This prevents oxygen getting in and produces an intense reduction atmosphere which affects the colours in the glazes and clay bodies. The drastic thermal shock also produces cracking (known as crackling since it is deliberate).


The original Japanese style of raku is an outgrowth from Buddhist influences in life and especially in the tea ceremony.


Raku glazes are often fractured, which is referred to as crazing. These crackle glazes are enhanced by the post firing smoking of Raku pots that embeds carbon into the crackles of the glaze.


Raku was developed in Japan during the 16th century and is frequently associated with Zen Buddhism and the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The word Raku means “joy” or “happiness”.


Raku firing

Raku fired ceramic

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