Raku is a type of Japanese pottery that originated in the 16th century. It is known for its unique and dramatic appearance, with crackled glazes and blackened, smoky areas on the surface of the clay.
Raku pottery is traditionally made by hand, using a low-fired clay body that is coated with a glaze made from a mixture of clay and feldspar. The glazed piece is then placed in a kiln and fired at a relatively low temperature of around 900 to 1000 degrees Celsius.
Once the glaze has melted and the clay has reached the desired temperature, the piece is removed from the kiln while still hot, using tongs or other tools. The piece is then placed into a container filled with combustible materials, such as sawdust or straw. The heat from the pottery ignites the combustible material, which creates smoke and flames that affect the surface of the pottery.
The piece is left to cool in the container, which creates a reduction atmosphere that affects the glaze and clay body. This process results in the unique and unpredictable patterns of color and texture that are characteristic of Raku pottery.