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"Domesticating Chaos for the Aesthete"

  Rakuyaki or Raku    


A Japanese Tradition

Raku is a type of pottery involving a unique and unpredictable firing process. The term Raku was bestowed upon a 16th century Japanese potter named Chojiroo and is derived from the Kanji character meaning pleasure by chance or ease. Chojiroo developed this process under the patronage of the Japanese tea master Sen-No-Rikyu. Raku was considered the traditional method used to create tea bowls for the Japanese tea ceremony. The tea bowls were removed from the red hot kiln and put directly into water or allowed to cool in the open air. This process produced individual wares, each having its own unique character and style. The formal recognition of Raku potters in the late 16th century marked the emergence of the Japanese ceramic artist from the anonymity of the general craftsman.

Western Raku

In the 1960's post reduction was introduced to the Raku process by the American potter Paul Soldner. This procedure involves removing the pot from the kiln and immediately introducing it to a reduction environment. This environment is produced by burning combustible material (e.g., straw, sawdust, or newspaper) in a sealed container. Within this chaotic post reduction environment the clay body is stained black and certain glaze chemicals will produce spectacular and unpredictable results. In the Raku tradition , no two pots will ever be the same.


Fresh Pots