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Dictionary of craft terms – what is raku?

Glaze with craquelé Raku (japanese: joy) is originally Japanese pottery, that was produced for the tea ceremony.
Originating in Kyoto it has been produced there since the the 16th century. Besides tea bowls, incense burners, tea containers, vases and water jugs are made using this technique.

The glazed pottery is removed from the kiln in a red hot state using long tongs. Due to thermal shock fine cracks appear on the surface of the glaze, so called craquelé. The pot is then put into a container or hole in the ground with material that will burn. This burns immediately when the pot is placed on it. After a short while the air is cut off using a tight lid and this leads to a reduction atmosphere. Unglazed parts und the craquelé become saturated with carbon and turn black or silver grey.

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