Clay Expression
The Art & Craft of Expressing Passion with Clay
Seramik Kraftangan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, PJ

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On a
  journey of
    discovery...

Crafting ceramic wares into
Astonishing depth of beauty from clay...

 
Pottery Field Trip Contents
Melaka Field Trip
Field Trip to Perak
Potter from Kelantan
Fauzi's Pottery Studio Trip
Raku Ancient Art of Firing
Clay Expression Open house
Raku Ancient Art of Firing
 


RAKU firing technique

When the kiln
temperature reaches close to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, the fuel supply is shut off, the kiln is opened, and the red hot ceramic pieces are removed with tongs.

 

<< Demonstration on RAKU firing technique

Ceramics have been made throughout the world ever since humans first began manipulating clay during the Stone Age.

Pottery is a truly global medium, acquiring a distinctive function as a means of social and cultural expression of an individual.

The firing technique of RAKU originated some 400 years ago in Japan. 

The name, RAKU, first appeared in sixteenth century Japan and roughly translated it meant contentment, enjoyment, and pleasure. It was, and are still used among tea masters during the Zen tea ceremony.

The first Western introduction of RAKU came in 1911 by the famous English potter Bernard Leach who first participated in the technique and tea ceremony in Tokyo.

The RAKU process involves first applying a glaze to a bisque, or once fired, pot or ceramic piece by brushing, pouring or dipping. The piece is then fired to a temperature close to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the kiln has reached this temperature and the glazes have matured, the fuel supply is shut off, the kiln is opened, and the red hot pieces are removed with tongs or heavy duty gloves.

After smoking from 10 minutes to several hours or even overnight...

...the ceramic pieces are removed from the cans, usually covered in soot and ash and the tedious part of scrubbing away the unwanted drabness but some Raku potters preferred the soiled looking finish.

 


Red hot ceramic pieces are removed with tongs.

Oh dear! 7 hrs of waiting :o(

The container is then covered which creates a lack of oxygen. This causes the combustibles to smoke heavily.

Smoke penetrates clay and glaze, turning bare clay black and creating metallic flashes or crackles on the glazes depending upon their composition.

The ability to add quality to the glaze effect by smoking... was discovered by "Paul Soldner" in the 1960's -- his major contribution to the technique.

Paul Soldner also developed clays that would withstand the thermal shock, and the basis for many Raku glazes: 80 Gerstley Borate, 20 Nepheline Syenite.



Raku fired glazed
ceramic vase

Traditionally, these glowing pots were either air cooled or dipped into a container of water.


A more up to date
approach involves placing the hot pots into a metal container filled with flammable materials like; newspaper, sawdust, or leaves.

Raku pieces covered in soot and ash
Every Raku piece is unique, no two will ever be exactly the same, and as you can see a lot of care and work goes into each one.

Raku fired glazed
ceramic vase

 

 

 

 


 

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