Firing It Up! Raku-Style

Firing It Up! Raku-Style

Raku Firing

Harry opens the kiln & Cara uses tongs to transfer the glowing pot to the metal trash can lined with newspaper.


Final class vessels, cooling after Raku firing

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.

Raku Pot by Harry Hearne

Raku Pot by Harry Hearne

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.


(L) Asa places the hot pot into the trash can for firing. (R) The glowing pots are ready to transfer with the tongs


Asa, Zach & Cara happily examine their cooling pots.

Raku firing

Students take turns with the different parts of the firing.

Raku class "Show and Tell" in the Community Room

Raku class “Show and Tell” in the Community Room

Final pots at Show and Tell


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