Raku – A Practical Approach by Steve Branfman

By | 21 December 08

Long considered a handbook of raku, Raku – A Practical Approach details a myriad of topics pertaining to this method of firing.

  • Glaze recipes for many different raku effects
  • Extended chapter on kiln design, construction and operation
  • Information on how to do raku safely in a school or workshop environment.

rakuRaku, a ceramic process originating in Japan, involves taking a pot from the kiln with special tools at the height of the glaze firing, and putting it into a metal container filled with combustible materials.

This is a dramatic operation, requiring a team of people, all garbed safely and moving in time to the firing schedule.  It results in red hot ware clutched in tongs being carried from place to place- often bursting into flame as the pots contact the combustible leaves, sawdust or shredded paper.

As you might imagine, there is much preparation that leads to this firing.

Raku – A Practical Approach details the whole process of producing raku pottery.  From the making, discussing the types of clay to use, including several clay recipes, to the forming, whether it be thrown on the potters wheel, slip cast or hand built.  There is a lengthy section on glazes, again including a number of glaze recipes.

The kiln and firing chapters are the longest, by far.  Building a raku kiln is covered extensively, with several different kiln designs.  The firing information is specific to raku, explaining how firing works, so you, the potter, can personalize your firing to your liking.

Pros – A great deal of information packed into a slim volume.  The author doesn’t waste space and time on information that isn’t pertinent to the field.  Lots of diagrams and how-to information are included.

Cons – The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was the lack of color pictures.  Raku yields such colorful ware, I would have liked to see more color pictures.

If I was going to buy a book on raku, this one would definitely be on the list! Raku – A Practical Approach is a sound book with good information.

Read more about this book at
Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

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