Raku: Keeping the Fire Alive

Tonight I itched to get out of the house and do something completely new. A week of nursing a mild cold and avoiding “bomb cyclone” temperatures had stirred the crazies in me. I texted my friend Sara to ask of her plans. She told me she was volunteering at the Visual Arts Center, where they were hosting a variety of $15 art classes. With a “raku” class starting in less than twenty minutes, I hopped an Uber and arrived just in time.

Raku, a style of ceramic firing native to Japan, allows for dramatic oxidation and crackling effects. The teacher had the other students (four couples on date night) and me choose leftover pots from throwing classes. We put wax over the bottom and made simple designs on the sides, then dipped the pots in glazes, each with their own special properties. I chose midnight blue and copper green.

Raku Pot

This is my pot. Although it is not perfect–I wish I had glazed the inside–I am pleased with it. The smoke that still lingers in my hair and on my coat reminds me of the moment we pulled the pots out of the glowing red kilns and put them in buckets full of shredded paper. The scene of smoking buckets in the winter snow stunned me. I am glad that even in the most bitter days of winter, little adventures can keep the fire alive.


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