Don Chester - Raku Pottery

Raku is a Japanese form of pottery and really the only different thing to it is the final firing. Normally you would put things in a kiln when they are very dry and you’d fire them very slowly ‘til you get it up to glaze temperature, then you cool them very slowly because pottery is liable to crack or break if you go too quickly through a couple of spots, particularly in the cooling cycle. So the Raku is unique in that you load the pots into a red-hot kiln and take them out again when the glaze is melted. But the process came over to the States…well the first guy who was credited with it was a guy called Gilbertson and he had studied in Japan. He was a Japanese-trained American ceramicist. And he lived most of his life in Japan and he came to the States at some point and did a series of workshops. And a guy who was very seminal in the clay industry, by the name of Paul Soldner, was one of the guys who ran across him. Soldner at one time was firing raku pieces and they were working outside in the fall and he wondered what would happen if he put his red-hot pot in a bunch of leaves that were in a gutter that was sitting beside it. And low and behold he discovered that it turned into copper luster. And some of the other glazes got very lustrous and iridescent. And that therein started what people often today think of Raku, which is these copper lustres or golden lustres and various other kinds of effects on the surface

Duration: 2:06 min
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