RAKU HISTORY

The firing technique of "Raku" ware was first developed by Chojiro, founder of the first generation of the Raku dynasty, in the 16th century. Chojiro produced tea bowls for the tea ceremony using the "Raku" firing technique.

Chojiro's tea bowls were brought to the attention of the Emperor Hideyoshi. Emperor Hideyoshi was very impressed with the unpretentious and aesthetically pleasing tea bowls. As a result, the Emperor bestowed, in memory of Chojiro, a gold seal that bore the emblem symbolizing “Raku” on Chojiro's son Jokei.

The word "Raku" comes from the ideograph engraved on that gold seal. "Raku" when freely and loosely translated can mean joy, enjoyment, pleasure, comfort, happiness, or contentment. The word "Raku" thereby became Chojiro's family name/title.

The Raku firing technique utilizes a rapid rise in temperature in a fuel fired kiln. The Raku items are taken out of the kiln at glaze maturity, the Raku items, are then, placed in an air-tight container containing shredded newspaper and sawdust, and a short time later the Raku items are taken out of the air tight container and either air cooled or sprayed or dipped in water.

The Raku firing technique and the reduction cause the items to develop vivid colors and copper sheen.  Fire and smoke create matte black surfaces in unglazed areas.  Oxygen deprivation, the fire, and temperature changes cause the glazes to fully or partially reduce and cause the interesting colors or patterns of color or areas of bronze, copper, or silver to develop. As a result, the items have wonderful vivid colors and sheen.  Fire and smoke create the matte black surface areas.  Slight variations in glaze thickness cause the glaze to react and change color. Oxygen deprivation (reduction) and temperature changes are what determine the shades of the colors that develop. As a result, no two items are exactly alike.

NOTE: Items fired in the Raku manner are quite porous and can only be used for decorative purposes and are not for food or drink.

RAKU ITEMS

Raku is an ancient Japanese firing technique utilizing rapid changes in temperature. Oxygen deprivation and temperature changes determine the shade of the item's color. Therefore, the colors shown through out this web site may not be the exact colors you will receive with your order. The color range of each bead varies due the nature of the firing technique. The colors shown should be viewed as examples of a range of that color. In addition, sizes quoted are wet clay sizes, the dry size varies due to shrinkage in the drying and firing process.

CLAY

All Raku items sold on this site are one of a kind and each one is hand crafted from Porcelain clay.

COLORS

Non-Mat Colors

Red - the color can vary from deep red to an orange red and can, also, have areas of black.

Copper - the color can vary from a mat copper to a bright copper.

Cobolt Blue - the color can very from blue to blue with areas of bronze.

Green - the color can vary from green to green with areas of bronze.

Black - the color can vary from black to gray black to black with areas of bronze.

Purple - the color can vary from lavender to violet to silvery black purple.

White - the color can vary from white to gray white.

Brown - the color is copper and may have areas of gray or white.

Yellow - the color can very for light yellow to a dark yellow with areas of black.

Mat Colors

Copper - the color can vary from a mat copper to an iridescent red mat copper.

Mat Blue - the color can vary from a mat blue to a mat blue with areas of mat copper.

Mat Green - the color can vary from a mat green to a mat green with areas of mat copper.

PMC Colors

Red - the color can vary from deep red with areas of silver to an orange red with areas of silver and can, also have areas of black.

Copper - the color can vary from a mat copper with areas of silver to bright copper with areas of silver.

Cobolt Blue - the color can very from blue with areas of silver to blue with areas of bronze and areas of silver.

Green - the color can vary from green with areas of silver to green with areas of bronze and areas of silver.

Purple - the color can vary from lavender to violet to silvery black purple with areas of silver which has a gray cast.

White - the color can vary from white to gray white with areas of silver which has a gold cast.

Brown - the color is copper and may have areas of gray or white or both with areas of silver.

Mat-Black - the color is mat-black with areas of silver.

PMC (Precious Metal Clay) is a patented and copy righted trade name of Mitsubishi Materials. PMC is a fine silver clay that is 99% silver.

Note: If you want raku beads with matching colors you must order all of them at the same time. However, the color may vary within the same strand due to the nature of the firing process.

SURFACE

Non-Mat - The surface of non-mat colors may vary from a very smooth to a slightly rough surface.

Mat - The surface of mat color may vary from flat to a slightly coarse to the touch surface.

RAKU BEADS, RAKU ITEMS, AND BEADED ITEMS

This is a sampling of the Raku Beads, Raku Items, and Beaded Items that are available. Click on any page link on the left panel to see the available Raku Beads, Raku Items, and Beaded Items from Ruben's Raku and Kathie's Beads.

 

 

   

 

 
 

 

   

   

Texan Spider

 

Click on any image to see more.

 

 

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Ball Beads
PMC Beads
Square Flat Beads

Oval Flat Beads

Funky Beads
Specialty Beads
Pendant's
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Sea Things
Pinch Pots
Bears
Leaves
Hearts
Vases
Butterflies
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Raku Jewelry
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We're adding new Raku Items everyday!