Red Hot Raku

The raku pottery technique also known as rakuyaki (楽焼), has it’s origins in 16th century Japan.  During my years in Tokyo I had the opportunity to explore the potters process and was fascinated by the spirituality and artistic consciousness.  Raku potters began by producing wares mainly for the Japanese tea ceremony before moving into more decorative pieces.  Raku, meaning “pleasure’ or “enjoyment”, was not introduced to the western world until the first half of the 20th century.
Raku is a process of taking pots, while they are still glowing red from the kiln, and placing them immediately into containers filled with combustible materials such as dried leaves, newspaper, sawdust etc.  A carbonization process begins once the red hot pots ignite the combustible materials.  Lids are then put on the containers to create a totally smoke filled atmosphere.  The result is that any unglazed areas on the pots will absorb the smoke and blacken.   During the cooling process,  the drastic thermal shock also produces cracking (known as crackling since it is deliberate).
It was also during my time in Japan that I came across Domani, a Belgian company that was started 18 years ago and has since become the international standard for high-quality decorative pots.  Domani adopted the raku process and through their search for new applications, both in colour and technique, gave raku a new look.