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RAKU by Schartz!


Yume Pots


Raku By Schartz!

Mandala Platter

Welcome to the home page of Tony and Gretchen Schartz. We are artists that travel the country showing our work at art shows. We are potters and we work exclusively with Raku. Raku is an ancient Japanese glazing and firing technique where pieces are pulled from the kiln at a high temperature.

With American raku the glaze is put on the pot and placed into the kiln. The kiln burners are lit and the piece is brought up to temperature, about 1850 degrees. When the kiln reaches that temperature the kiln is opened and the piece taken out. The piece is then put into a container. Inside this container is some sort of combustible material, we usually use shredded paper that we can pick up at the college. The moment that the hot piece touches the paper the paper bursts into flames. After a short period to allow the flames to burn very hot, the container is covered. The flame in search for oxygen will pull the oxygen from the glaze and clay body. The way that the flame works on the glaze is very uncontrollable. As such, it is possible for some glazes to produce a wide range of colors and effects.

Another thing that happens to raku, especially large pieces, platters and bowls in particular, is that the large surface area of the piece allows that glaze on the piece to cool more quickly than the clay body, which results in glaze crazing, most raku glazes will craze, this crazing is one reason that raku is not considered functional. Crazing is very evident on clear and white glazes and shows up as thin to heavy black lines. In high fire ceramics most of these things would be called defects, but with raku the artist has to learn to work with these things and integrate them into his work. These are the things that make raku exciting and also insure that no two pieces are every alike.