Firing Raku Pottery is one of the easiest and most satisfying ways to fire pottery using a very simple Raku kiln. Check out the video below to see the different parts of the process and some pots on fire. Yes, that's supposed to happen!
Making Raku pottery is easier than firing pottery in a kiln the traditional way. One difference from regular pottery is that it does require specific Raku glazes and Raku clay. These are specially formulated to achieve the shimmery, crackly glaze effects that you see in Raku firings.
The Raku kiln is just a simple gas fired kiln, usually with an easily removable lid that can be lifted off when the pots are ready. Once the pottery is fired to red hot it is removed from the kiln with tongs and placed into a metal garbage can with combustible materials like newspaper or leaves and left to smolder.
Once it has cooled, the Raku glazed pottery is scrubbed with water.
The fun part about firing pottery with Raku is that you get to see the pots when they are red hot and you get to watch them set the materials on fire. So there is a lot of smoke and flame, which is the essence of pottery making.
Food Safety Note: One important thing to keep in mind is that Raku fired pottery is not water tight or food safe. The thermal shock that the pots undergo when they are rapidly removed from the kiln creates a lot of cracks in the Raku glaze as well as in the clay itself. For this reason these pots are for decorative use only.
I hope you've enjoy this introduction to firing Raku pottery. For more fun ideas on Alternative Kilns and Firing, check out the book below available at Amazon.
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