15 Sep Firing It Up! Raku-Style
If you stroll by Studio Row when a class is doing a Raku firing at the outdoor kiln, you are in for an exciting, fiery surprise. I was lucky to catch Harry & Julie Hearne’s recent class, The Art of Throwing and Raku Firing, as they were firing their last pieces of the week.
Western-style Raku derives from a rich tradition of Japanese pottery that was made specifically for tea ceremonies. In the 1960s, it was popularized in the US by potters who were inspired by the Japanese tradition. To learn more about the differences between the two traditions, check the article American-Style Raku by Paul Soldner.
With Raku firing, the potter removes the vessel from the kiln while it is still very hot, red, and glowing. He or she uses tongs to move the piece from the kiln to a prepped trash can. Once the piece is inside, the fiery show begins! I had a great time watch the class during this process.
In their Brasstown studio, Turning Point Clay Studio, Harry & Julie make beautiful fine-crafted Raku vessels. Their classes at the Folk School are an invaluable way to learn all about the history, technique, and application in a hands-on environment.