About Raku

Raku-yaki (楽焼)(raku ware) is a type of Japanese pottery that is traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony, most often in the form of tea bowls. It is traditionally characterized by hand molded, rather than turned, clay, which results in each piece being “one-of-a-kind”; fairly porous vessels, which result from low firing temperatures; lead glazes and the removal of pieces from the kiln while still glowing hot. In the traditional Japanese process, the fired raku piece is removed from the hot kiln and is allowed to cool in the open air or in a container filled with combustible material. Raku techniques have been modified by contemporary potters worldwide.

Raku means “enjoyment” or “ease”.

In raku firing, the aluminium container acts as a reduction tube, which is a container that allows the carbon dioxide to pass through a small hole , Areduction atmosphere is created by closing the container. A reduction atmosphere induces a reaction between oxygen and clay, which affects the color . It also has extraordinary effects on the metals inside the glaze. Reduction is a decrease in oxidation number. Closing the can starves the air of oxygen after the combustible materials such as sawdust catch fire and forces the reaction to pull oxygen from the glazes and the clay .  The reduction agent is a substance from which electrons are being taken by another substance. The reaction uses oxygen from the atmosphere within the reduction tube, and, to continue, it receives the rest of the oxygen from the glazes. This leaves ions and iridescent luster behind. This creates a pleasing metallic effect.

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