Charlie and Linda Riggs began experimenting with saggar firing after being disappointed with the results of some of their pit firings. So one day, Charlie decided to experiment with some bisque pots he had. He put some wood shavings, salt, copper carbonate/copper sulfate and wire encircling a white burnished pot into a bisqued bowl. Then… Read More »
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.
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… Read More »
The definition of raku firing (American-style) is “a firing process in which work is removed from the kiln at bright red heat and subjected to post-firing reduction (or smoking) by placing in containers of combustible materials, which blackens raw clay and creates cracks in glaze. But as with anything in ceramics, there is not just… Read More »
you’re interested in getting started with raku or in adding raku to
your program, here are a few pointers for getting off to a good start
with the right kiln—the most important tool you’ll need.
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… Read More »
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… Read More »
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… Read More »
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… Read More »
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… Read More »
We get a lot of questions from readers about the raku firing process. I think raku firing intrigues many a potter because of the drama involved in the process. How cool is it it to take a red-hot piece out of a kiln, see the molten glaze and hear the pings from the thermal shock…. Read More »