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A new word: raku
In the section "Simple Beauty" we explore the different forms of being beautiful. Houses, interiors, objects and people behind them. Today, our verbal lens focused on the famous Raku Ware. What is it, who is it and how is it.
Pleasure. Such a meaning of the hieroglyph "raku", and the question "where is ceramics here?" immediately comes to mind. They say that the feeling of pleasure fills human interacting with the bowls, dishes and cups made in the ancient technique. Things have some magic in. Raku ware like a well known verse, but during repeating it only adds to internal delight.
History of the Raku wares began in the XVII century. While Europe experienced a rapturous faint from the finest porcelain, the East was in opposite. On the tables in a Japanese house there were massive, poured with thick glaze bowls and saucers for a tea ceremony.
In Raku ware the past, present and future meet.
Homeland of the ceramic technology, Japan, appreciates the restrained beauty, authenticity and fleeting moods. Something that you see with the heart, not with the eyes.
The founder of the Raku school is Tanaka Chōjirō. Master refused the potter's wheel and formed a product by hands, learning new qualities and possibilities of the material. His two-colour glazed lion figure and black Raku tea bowls named "Omokage" and "Mukiguri" belong to the national cultural heritage of Japan.
Manmade raku pieces represent the essence of simple forms and imperfect natural unevenness. They perfect in imperfection.
As ceramics were created mainly for a tea ceremony, the most popular of raku is a chawan tea bowl. Its thick walls keep the drink, while the porous texture is pleasant to touch.
Man + clay + furnace with a temperature up to 800-1000 C. It is the equation for obtaining raku ware. Firstly the pottery is bisque fired, then glazed and fired in a raku kiln. Due to the second firing products are gently melted on the edges and covered with gossamer cracks. It adds a special beauty and aesthetics.
As opposed to ordinary firing where the wares cool down slowly in the kiln and removed with gloves, Raku ware is removed hot with tongs. After the furnace ceramics needs time to recover – the endgame stage.
Next step - to place a ware in masses of straw or other contributed material
Ceramics captivates with depth of color shades, unpredictable behavior of patterns and glaze.
Every item is the storm of the ceramist's feelings reflected by the multilingualism, hidden contexts, meanings. The object combines creative thinking and functionality.
If we leave aside the subjective "it's beautiful", the main features of ceramic are the spontaneity and reflexivity.
Raku objects like people. With birthmarks, scars and burns. It is mysterious, wrapped with a thin veil of mystique originality is of interest to create pottery, fill the house with raku and contemplate the meditative beauty of ceramic masterpieces. This art is impossible to get the ceramic twins, even intentionally doing the identical pieces.
For a moment, the fingers stopped at small dents of a cup, then continued moving along the surface. Rough, a bit shabby because of the touch of time.
European raku pottery is identified with Bernard Leach. At the beginning of the XX century he brought the technique into the native Britain and created harmony of oriental lines with European glazes and engobes. The Essence of Raku and ceramics Leach describes in 'A Potter's Book'.
Celebrity in the family of raku ceramics is a Fuji-san tea bowl created by the Honami Koetsu. He is the Japanese da Vinci, a multi-disciplinary artist: a craftsman, calligrapher, painter, publisher, maker of Noh masks. His ceramic bowl embodies the uniqueness and naturalness resembling a morning meadow which still sees the last sleep under the soft blanket of fog.
Raku ware does not open immediately, it takes time to understand, to feel, to live it. These are the things teaching to see the great in the small, enjoying the authentic live beauty hardened in clay.
Raku is when the universe in a bowl