12/16/2015 - What is Raku? Our students found out first hand!
Canton High School semester 1 ceramics class visited the Simsbury studio of Vicente Garcia Dec. 11th to participate in a Raku firing.
Raku is a centuries old type of firing that originated in Japan. Normally ceramic pieces are fired twice.In a raku firing, special raku glazes are applied to bisque fired pieces, then the pieces are brought to a high temperature in a gas fired kiln then removed from the kiln and immediately dropped into a metal container, in this case a trash can, filled with combustible material, like paper, the can is immediately covered to deprive the glazed piece of oxygen; it is this lack of oxygen that creates the amazing colors you get in a raku firing. The pieces are then dowsed with water after the smoke coming from the can stops. Thermal shock from the drastic change of temperatures as well as the mixture of fire and smoke creates the unusual cracks, textures and colors that are unique to the raku process which are extremely beautiful.
Students return from Vicente’s studio with their own unique and beautiful ceramic pieces. They also gained an understanding of working collaboratively as a team to help each other fire their pieces as well as learning from a master artist and teacher.