Fire, Thrills and Raku


Raku is a technique for firing pottery dating back to 16th century Japan. ‘Raku’ translates from Japanese to something like ‘ease’ or ‘enjoyment’ and is the family name given to the founder of the technique, a potter called Chojiro, by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the ruler at the time. The Raku family can be traced through fifteen generations to the present day, where Raku ware is still made in the traditional manner.
And now you can learn to make your own unique Raku pots on our 4 week course starting on 23rd April with our tutor Mike Scown.
Raku firing involves heating pots very rapidly in a small kiln to temperatures of around 1000 C before removing them from the kiln using metal tongs and either plunging them into water, leaving them to cool in the open air, or placing them into beds of combustible material such as paper or sawdust. This last option is a modern, Western departure from the original technique and is credited to Paul Soldner, who worked in North America in the mid-20th century. This placing of hot pots into combustible materials causes them to ignite, and when covered with a sealed lid produces lots of smoke and an oxygen-starved atmosphere, creating dramatic colours and surfaces on the pots.
With it’s connection to Zen and Japanese culture it’s no surprise that Raku embodies the ideas of beauty and spontaneity within a medium which is simple (and fun) to learn. Mike has taught the course with us before and we’ve had great feedback about his ability to pass on his passion for Raku to students. Why not come and see for yourself?
On the course you’ll learn more of the interesting the history of Raku, explore the various techniques and approaches to this magical art and create four unique pots to keep.
Made by hand, every piece is truly unique and you’ll experience the excitement of the spontaneity of the process from start to finish. Why not sign up today and experience the joy of creating something truly beautiful.
Sign up here and watch a slideshow of Raku in action.