Raku is an alternate way to glaze and fire pottery. The word “raku” means “"happiness accident" or "enjoyment"”. Originally created for the Korean tea ceremony, and further developed in 16th century Japan. It requires the fast removal of the piece from the furnace and covering it with flammable materials like natural wood sawdust to inhibit the absorption of oxygen to the molten enamel. This produces the characteristic cracking effect from the thermal shock. Also the colours are rendered with a more metallic appearance. The process of Raku firing differs from other firing methods because the pots are removed from the kiln at their maximum temperature.
The unique look of Raku pottery is achieved by utilizing the elements of smoke, fire and water to create an unpredictable and unique style. Firstly the pottery is bisque fired, then glazed and fired in an outdoor Raku Kiln, followed by enhancement in a reduction chamber. As opposed to normal pottery firing, where the wares cool down slowly in the kiln and are removed with gloves, Raku ware is removed immediately with tongs. While red hot, the pieces can be reduced using smoke, or enhanced with alcohol, or decorated with horse/pet hair and feathers. It is a rather dangerous, unpredictable and amazing process.