KeramiArt

Raku Ceramics: Elemental Harmony

I prefer the Raku technique to create decorative ceramic objects, these are a perfect match for both today’s modern interiors with clean shapes and light colors and for more conservative environments furnished with elegance. Raku ceramic pieces are extremely and unpredictably unique, clean, modern and natural. They inherently reveal the heart and soul of their creator, since the process of creation is often as engaging as Raku objects themselves. Raku is not just a reductive low fire technique, it is a fascinating, adventurous performance.

Posts about Raku Raku Objects

History

Raku Pottery was developed in Japan in the early 1500’s as the Ceremonial Tea Ware of the Zen Buddhist Masters. The word Raku signifies enjoyment of freedom. It was preferred by the Masters because of its humility, tasteful unpretentiousness, simple naturalness, and its deliberate avoidance of luxury… all very important to the Zen philosophy.

According to the Zen Masters, its elusive, subtle, yet vigorous beauty is Raku’s only worth, it is pottery without utility or function. Raku must be approached with a different criterion in mind, like a painting or a symphony.

It is valued because it is believed that the Spirit of the Maker is embodied in the form and revealed at the foot, which is traditionally left naked (unglazed). It is believed that if we are alert to ourselves, in contemplating the Raku form, we will recognize in it our own Spirit and Meaning.

Birth of a Raku Piece

Raku objects are born in an Earth, Fire, Air, Water cycle. All four elements are used during the creation of each item to maintain harmony. The vessel is made out of Earth and metal-oxides, Fire transforms the clay and glazes in the kiln, the incandescent ware is removed from the kiln and immediately buried in wood shavings, where secondary reduction takes place, transforming the oxide-rich glazes. Differences in oxygen levels in the Air cause patterns to form on the surface, these are fixed by quenching in Water.

Earth

Raku+Earth: Everything starts with a piece of clay

Raku+Earth: Unnecessary bits are removed with meticulous work

Raku+Earth: Drying Globes

Raku+Earth: Surfaces are sometimes polished using a pebble

Fire

Raku+Fire: Filling the kiln

Raku+Fire: The gas burner increases the heat rapidly

Raku+Fire: Almost there

Raku+Fire: Using tongs is a must and requires skill

Air

Raku+Air: The glowing pieces receive their second thermal shock

Raku+Air: They are put in isolation chambers

Raku+Air: That is where the reduction process takes place

Raku+Air: Oxygen levels determine patterns on the surfaces

Water

Raku+Water: Water fixes the reduction process

Raku+Water: The objects are sprinkled with then dipped into water

Raku+Water: With care as they can still blow up

Raku+Water: Some more scrubbing and we are done

5 posts

About Ildikó:

My aim is to create lovable, usable, high-quality ceramic objects that provide a wide range of visual and tactile experiences. My creative process consists of constant, focused, yet in some aspects instinctive experimentation with materials, shapes and surfaces. My goal is to capture beauty. This process is an intuitive search for harmony, a quest for delight. Objects born in my hands are imprints of the inner paths of this explorer-researcher-observer mind.

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