Pottery by
Nita Claise
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What is Raku?
What is Raku?  -in loose translation raku means: enjoyment, contentment, pleasure and happiness.

     Originally a Japanese seal given to a prominent family of potters (1598) who developed the technique. The term describes a lowfire form of pottery where the pots are removed from the kiln as soon as the glaze has melted and then left to cool or doused with water.  Bernard Leach the famous British potter through his studies of Ogata Kenzan's disciples is attributed to bring the technique to America. Ogata Kenzan (1661-1742 AD) was a potter, a painter, and a poet and Tea Master.  Bernard Leach studied pottery in Japan with a 6th generation representative of Ogata Kenzan between 1911-1920. Leach made Raku pottery in Tokyo and became a 7th generation representative of the Kenzan tradition. When he returned to England he continued to do Raku. In the mid 20th century Paul Soldner introduced the now popular process of post firing reduction.  
     Originally raku was meant to be functional - used in tea ceremonies.  We have Americanized the process in this country and now are more concerned with the rapid firing process and the vibrant colors that we are able to obtain.  The raku I do is not meant to be functional.  

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