AP Ceramics students at McNicholas High School followed the ancient Japanese Raku firing techniques in class Nov. 3. Raku firing is an ancient Japanese ceramics technique that has been used for centuries. According to Mel Gaskins, fine arts department chair, the history of Raku dates as far back as the 16th century.
“The special type of earthenware was first invented for a tea ceremony in Kyoto,” she said. “Raku actually means ‘pleasure’ or ‘enjoyment.’”
Raku firing requires taking the pots from the kiln while they are still glowing red hot and placing them in a material that would be able to easily catch fire, such as sawdust. Doing so starves the pot of oxygen, which gives the glaze a wonderful variety of colors. Pieces with no glaze on them take the oxygen from the clay itself, so some areas will have a matte black coloring.
The AP students’ work will be displayed the McNicholas Art Gallery on the upper level of the school’s Media Center.
Seniors Atticus Block and Val Lane are shown removing their pots, carrying, the hot pot to the sawdust, and placing it in.