RAKU, A BRIEF EXPLANATION
This pottery technique originated in Japan. in the late 16th century. At thistime, RAKU potters were producing wares expressively for the Japanese teaceremony. RAKU, meaning "pleasure" or "enjoyment" was notintroduced to the western world until as as the first half of the lastcentury.
RAKU is a process of taking pots, while they are still glowing red, (about 1800F) from the kiln and placing them immediately into closed containers filled withcombustible material, such as sawdust. dried leaves, newspaper, etc. While thepots are in these containers a reduction or carbonization process begins as soonas the hot pots ignite the combustible materials. Lids are then put on thecontainers to create a totally smoked filled atmosphere. The end result is thatany unglazed areas on the pots will absorb and turn black from the smoke. Duringthis extreme temperature change of cooling down, crazing or cracking occurs onmany of the glazed areas of the pots.
The cracks may make the RAKU pots fragile, and the relatively low temperaturescompared to high fired Stoneware and Porcelain, make the pots and the glazesoft, and are therefor not recommended for food or drinks because of the cracks,and the chance of lead poisoning from some types of the glazes.