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Riana Rocchetta Design

contemporary ceramic jewels

   

TECHNIQUES

Raku: Ancient Art of Firing
The firing technique of Raku originated some 400 years ago in Japan. The name, "Raku", first appeared in sixteenth century Japan and roughly translated it meant contentment, enjoyment, and pleasure. It was, and still is used among tea masters during the Zen tea ceremony.
The Raku process involves first applying a glaze to a bisque, or once fired, ceramic piece. Usually by brushing, pouring or dipping. The piece is then fired to a temperature close to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. When the kiln has reached this temperature and the glazes have matured, the fuel supply is shut off, the kiln is opened, and the red hot pieces are removed with tongs or heavy duty gloves. Traditionally, these glowing pieces were either air cooled or dipped into a container of water. A more contemporary approach involves placing the hot pieces into a metal container filled with combustible materials such as, newspaper, sawdust, or leaves. The container is then covered which creates a lack of oxygen. This causes the combustibles to smoke heavily. Smoke penetrates clay and glaze, turning bare clay black and creating metallic flashes or crackles on the glazes depending upon their composition.
After smoking from anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours or even overnight pieces are removed from the cans, usually covered in soot and ash. Finally, the unwanted dinginess has to be scrubbed away.
Every Raku piece is unique, no two will ever be exactly the same, and as you can see a lot of care and work goes into each one.

Third fire
The conventional production of ceramics implies tree firings : single fire, second fire and third fire.
In my case, over a piece made by “industrial gres”, already glazed and subjected to two previous firings, the last phase of decoration production is the application of the gold “oro zecchino”.
This last phase is colled thirds fire or “piccolo fuoco”.

   
 

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