raku (侘び寂び)

Raku pottery is a traditional form of Japanese pottery known for its unique and unpredictable results. The Raku process typically involves hand-shaping clay in various techniques.  The pottery is then fired at a relatively low temperature, removed from the kiln while still glowing hot, and placed into a container with combustible materials like sawdust, leaves, or paper.

The rapid cooling and the carbon-rich atmosphere create distinctive surface effects, such as metallic lusters, crackled glazes, and smoky patterns. These unexpected and often dramatic outcomes are highly valued in Raku pottery for their individuality and aesthetic appeal.

Raku pottery has a rich history dating back to 16th-century Japan, where it was used in tea ceremonies.  Today, Raku pottery is celebrated for its artistic expression, its emphasis on the beauty of imperfections, and the close relationship between the artist and the unpredictable nature of the firing process.