Sign up for your FREE subscription to the Ceramic Arts Daily Newsletter and we will give you Tips on Throwing Complex Pottery Forms Using Basic Throwing Skills Free!


When most potters in the West think of raku firing, they think of what should technically be referred to as "American" or "Western" raku: a process in which work is removed from the kiln at bright red heat and subjected to post-firing reduction (or smoking) by being placed in containers of combustible materials, which blackens raw clay and causes crazing in the glaze surface. This Western raku firing process has a huge draw for many potters because of its excitement and unpredictability. Here, we have gathered articles and videos on raku firing that will appeal to the novice and the expert alike. And if you are looking for glazes for your raku work, don't forget to download your free copy of Successful Tips and Techniques for Raku Firing: How to Select Raku Clays, Glazes, Kilns and Combustibles, a perfect resource for potters and ceramic artists who are ready to experiment with custom glazes, or for those who have grown tired of their own tried and true glazes.


Super Quick Terra Sig Plus Horsehair and Feather Raku

Posted On April 10, 2015 17 Comments

Using horsehair and feathers in raku firing yields incredible marks that can’t be created in any other type of firing. But for optimal results in horsehair and feather raku, you should have a smooth surface. Marcia Selsor creates this ideal surface with terra sigillata and I loved her no-muss-no-fuss method for mixing sig. In today’s video, an excerpt from her brand new video Raku Firing: Expanding the Potential of the Raku Kiln, Marcia demonstrates this technique and a horsehair/feather firing.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


Raku on the Walls: How to Make a Raku Mural

Posted On October 8, 2014 18 Comments

If you have ever done raku firing, you are probably aware that the raku firing process should not be used for pots that are intended to serve food. The rapid firing, removal of the ware at the red-heat stage, and subsequent post-firing all contribute to surfaces that remain porous after firing. So it is best for decorative pots or sculpture. If you are looking for another application for raku, today’s post just might be for you.

Diana Pittis uses cardboard boxes for her post-firing reduction. The remnants of one such firing is seen here.

Gone Fishing: Making the Switch from Pottery to Ceramic Sculpture

Posted On September 1, 2014 5 Comments

When Dianna Pittis switched from making pots to making sculpture, she had to invent some clay tools that made it possible for her to realize her vision. Making fish seemed straightforward enough—until she actually started making fish and had to deal with the logistics and technical aspects of building and firing them safely. Below, Pittis explains her process of discovery and invention, as well as her process from forming through firing.


Marcia Selsor’s Tips on Obvara Firing

Posted On August 29, 2014 10 Comments

The Obvara technique, which originated in Eastern Europe around the 12th Century, involves scalding the finish on the pottery to seal the porous surface. Similar to the raku process, a bisqued pot is heated, in this case to 1650°F (899°C) and removed from the heat. The difference is that the pot is then dipped into a specific Obvara yeast mixture before being dunked in water to rapidly cool the piece. The effects are quite stunning.


In today’s post, an excerpt from her new video Raku Firing: Expanding the Potential of the Raku Kiln, Marcia Selsor shows how to enhance the effects of an Obvara firing by texturing the surface and then shows the exciting process.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


Practicing Safe Raku: How Potters Can Protect Themselves When Playing With Fire

Posted On August 4, 2014 5 Comments

I participated in a raku firing (Western style) when I was an undergrad in one of Matt Long’s classes at Ohio University. It is no wonder raku is such a popular technique among potters and ceramic artists because what’s not to love about playing so directly with fire? But, like many ceramic techniques, it is extremely important to follow strict safety guidelines, not only to protect yourself from the open flame, but also the fumes that can damage your lungs. In today’s feature, ceramic artist and long-time raku practitioner Michael Lancaster shares some of the things he has learned over his many years of firing raku.


Pop Goes the Slip! Charlie and Linda Riggs’ Naked Raku Technique

Posted On February 10, 2014 3 Comments

Naked raku gets its racy name because during the process of firing, the outer shell of slip that was applied falls off revealing the “naked” surface of the pot underneath. Charlie and Linda Riggs get some beautiful results from this technique. Today, in an excerpt from our free download Successful Tips and Techniques for Raku Firing: How to Select Raku Clays, Glazes, Kilns and Combustibles, Charlie and Linda share their technique.


Tips for Making, Firing, and Finishing Saggars and Saggar Fired Pottery in a Raku Kiln

Posted On August 28, 2013 2 Comments

Charlie and Linda Riggs began experimenting with saggar firing after being disappointed with the results of some of their pit firings. Today, the Riggs share their saggar firing process which they have tweaked and honed over the years. Enjoy!


Successful Tips and Techniques for Raku Firing: How to Select Raku Clays, Glazes, Kilns and Combustibles Available for Download

Posted On November 23, 2009 17 Comments

To give you and idea of the great stuff that is packed into our latest free download Successful Tips and Techniques for Raku Firing: How to Select Raku Clays, Glazes, Kilns and Combustibles, I am posting an excerpt today. It is a common misconception that potters must use glazes specifically formulated for raku in a raku firing. But as Steven Branfman explains in this feature, you can use virtually any glaze in the raku process – from commercial to homemade, and low fire to high fire.


Wood Kiln Firing Techniques and Tips: Inspiration and Information for Making a Wood-Fired Kiln and Firing with Wood Available for Download!

Posted On September 14, 2009 17 Comments

Today’s post is an excerpt from our new free download, Wood Kiln Firing Techniques and Tips, in which Nesrin During shows us how to combine wood firing and raku firing. As you’ll see, wood firing isn’t just about high firing. You can build a simple raku kiln and fire your work with wood to get stunning results.


Ceramics Decorating Video: Decorating Raku Pottery with Slip Resist

Posted On May 15, 2009 6 Comments

In today’s video clip, Gordon Hutchens demonstrates a slip-resist
decorating technique. Sometimes called naked raku (but this video is G
rated) or peel-away slip, the technique involves painting clay slip
onto bisqueware and then raku firing.