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The field of raku pottery is rich and diverse.  The term seems to vary, in use, from a broad catch-all for various low-temperature firing processes to an entire philosophy of art and life.  Without risking oversimplifying the matter, I think I can safely say that one of the many appealing aspects of raku is its accessibility, especially in terms of equipment.  A raku firing need only achieve 1000°C, which is at the low end of the potter’s temperature scale, and easily achieved in a homemade kiln fueled, for instance, by a propane bottle.

The raku kiln pictured here was built by Paul Jessop of the UK from a galvanized steel “dustbin,” a roll of ceramic wool, some wire, a couple of fire bricks, and a few other odds and ends. Paul documented the build in this cool photoessay back in July of 2010, and Popular Mechanics seems to have later adapted and illustrated it to produce the step-by-step tutorial linked below.

Build a Raku Kiln – Popular Mechanics

More:
Incredible Raku-Ware Howl’s Moving Castle

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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