Raku Ceramics Process - Stage 3 - Firing

Now we get to the really exciting part of the Raku process where we start to see the results of the firing which uses both smoke & fire to achieve it's unique qualities.

The firing in a Raku kiln takes approximately 30 minutes at 1800°F.

Using tongs, the pieces are removed from the kiln when at it's highest temperature (which differs from other firing methods) & are placed in some form of metal reduction chamber such as a rubbish bin. This has to be done very quickly.

The items are covered immediately in a flammable material such as natural wood sawdust as seen in our process (newspaper, cardboard or leaves can also be used), to inhibit the absorption of oxygen to the molten enamel. The smoke from these materials contributes to changing the colours and patterns of the Raku pottery. The fire feeds on the oxygen within the metal container plus it also draws the oxygen out of the Raku pottery & it's glaze. 

You can see from the pictures below how this is all starting to come about.

Mice heading for the fire

Mice in the fire

Hen & fish in the fire

Tortoise going in
Shavings going in
Smoking big fish !

Next week we will bring you the next stage of 'dunking' & cleaning off.