“The clay we use is stoneware clay. I roll the fresh pieces on sand to give it texture. I listen to the Rolling Stones while working. Most of the forms look like rock/stones…clay turning on the wheel like rolling stones.”
---Joey de Castro, 2014
Pottery-making is not just about the chemistry that goes on but also the physics and the thermodynamics involved. One of the more delicate and unpredictable pottery techniques is Raku, where the process of firing becomes its main element.
Raku (meaning “enjoyment,” or “comfort,”) is a traditional Japanese method of making tea bowls by hand, fired in very low temperature until the piece is glowing red hot and then allowed to cool in open air. This technique however has been modified by Western contemporary potters. The red hot glowing piece, after being taken out of the kiln is gently placed in a closed bin filled with organic combustible materials. This is where the magic of Raku occurs. The heat from the piece will then burn up the combustible materials and will interact with the glaze thus creating that “Raku” effect – a combination of black soot (where glaze has not been applied) and cracked glaze. In short, Raku is the result of the play of materials, temperature and timing.