Raku means pleasure enjoyment, and is the name given to this type of pottery.
The technique was developed in 1597 by two Korean potters and it quickly rose to fame with the cult of Cha- No-You.
The bowls were specifically made to satisfy the dictates of the tea ceremony.
The speed and simplicity of contemporary Raku have made this type of ware very popular with hobbyists and ceramicists alike.
Pre-fired pots are rapidly heated to 1000 C, removed from the kiln glowing red hot then plunged into a container of sawdust. This creates a reduction atmosphere, starving the pots of oxygen, so it takes oxygen from the oxides
in the glaze producing spectacular hues of copper, gold, silver and many other exciting colours.
Raku Ware cannot be used for serving food; therefore, Raku should be used for decorative purposes only.
Chinese Copper Reds
These elusive and highly prized glazes vary in colour from a deep red of the sang de boeuf to delicate pink of the peach bloom and are particularly suited to a porcelain body.The raw glazed wares are fired over several hours in a kiln chamber starved of oxygen, and this technique of reduction controls the beauty of the finished glaze.
Traditionally these pots were fired in a climbing kiln dug out of an hillside in the shape of a tapered tunnel, the narrow end forming the chimney, and was fired with wood. Copper red is the name given to these glazes which were first developed by the Chinese potters during the late Sung and early Ming dynasties around the fourteenth century.
Elwick Mill is a former corn mill, now in the process of conversion and renovation. A solid stone constructed building; built in 1883 and last used as a corn mill in the fifties.
Future proposals are for a pottery workshop and gallery on the ground floor and partial restoration of the mill workings and wheel.
The project is expected to take several years. A temporary pottery workshop and studio is in the original single story mill dating back to the seventeenth century although very little evidence of its original wheel and workings now exists. Local clay (from Shapinsay is now being used for certain items and is a rich firing teracotta clay.
For the last three years I have also been producing crystalline ware.
Visitors welcome to see the goods being made.
Open 10am - 4.30pm not Mondays.
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