"Raku" means "happiness by chance"
Raku ceramic pottery is a Japanese technique used since the 16 th century.
The dried ceramic piece is heated up to 1050°C to make it into a white “biscuit” which is less fragile as the dried form. It is then enamelled with metal oxides which will give it the final colours and shine. The second firing is done at 960°C. At that moment the piece of ceramic is red hot and is taken out of the kiln and place in a container filled with sawdust that bursts into flames at once. The brutal change of temperature from 960°C to ambient temperature provides a thermic shock causing the enamel to crack and retract, the carbon emitted by the fumes of the burning sawdust colours any inch of the enamel free clay. This gives the black areas and the cracks on the creations. When sufficient amount of carbon colouring is achieved, the pieces are taken out and plunged in cold water, this second thermic shock causes the enamel to smooth back over the cracks, setting the design forever.
The change from fire to air to water determines the type quantity and size of the cracks in the enamel and the tone of the colours. Each creation is unique however, as exact replication of cracks is impossible.
The Raku technique is very harsh technique with 30 to 50% of the original models broken. It is worth it however, as the remaining creations are beautiful and unique.
Raku pottery is fired at relatively low temperatures, and therefore remains slightly porous compared to porcelain and sandstone. Every vase is further treated to ensure that the porosity is not a problem when holding water in.