What is Raku?
Raku is a Japanese term which means enjoyment, comfort or pleasure. Around 1550 a Japanese artisan Chojiro of Kyoto, began using this technique in the production of ceramic tea bowls. The technique was considered avante-garde and won favor with the ruling statesman of the time, Toyotomo Hideyoshi. He presented Chojiro with a seal with the Chinese character for Raku. This then became the name associated not only with the type of ceramic firing process but also for the family that produced them -and is still producing them to this day.
The Raku process involves removing red hot pottery from the kiln and placing it immediately into a container with organic combustible material such as woodchips. The chemical interaction between the clay, glaze and organic material create unique designs, colors, and shapes on each piece. With practice and attention, a Raku practitioner can produce amazing pieces which can sell for thousands of dollars.
Nolan Windholtz at Round Tree Pottery has been using the Raku technique for over 10 years and as you can see in the photo below, gets amazing results!