Raku firing originated in Japan in the late 16th Century and involved the removal of bowls from the kiln while the glaze was still molten, allowing them to air cool. These tea bowls were quite austere in appearance, glazed in neutral colours and were reminiscent of objects found in nature, the rocks and stones of snow covered mountains.
The Raku pottery that we make exploits post reduction processes to obtain a strong copper lustre. Glazed pottery is heated to 950°C, removed from the kiln while the glaze is still molten and placed in a metal dustbin containing sawdust. The sawdust ignites and burns producing carbon monoxide, an unstable gas which removes oxygen that is chemically bound to metal salts present in the glaze. This causes a metallic sheen of copper to be produced on the surface of our work.
Areas of glaze that are not heavily reduced remain a deep turquoise colour and crackle because the glaze is not a perfect “fit” for the stoneware clay beneath. Smoke from the burning sawdust permanently stains black the body of the pot where no glaze has been applied and highlights the crackle in the glaze. It is the strong colour of the turquoise glaze that has influenced the forms that we throw. Vessels are based on early Islamic design because the turquoise glaze has historical links with early Iraq/ Iranian faience.