A FIRING TECHNIQUE
Nani Champy Schott, Jean-François Bourlard © Anthony Girardi
Raku refers to a short time firing technique at low temperature based on a thermal shock: after being fired - between 900 C and 1300 C° - the piece undergoes a rapid cooling in the open air according to Japanese tradition, and in incandescent materials (sawdust, wood chips, scrap paper, dead leaves, etc.) using the Western style technique.
This abrupt temperature change causes cracks in the enamel, through which smoke gets in the clay and modifies its colours. It is in part this accidental, spectacular, spontaneous and experimental aspect that leads many creators to adopt this firing method.
Raku is much more than the technical aspect and its surprising effect. It arose in Japan in the 16th century from a meeting between a tea master, Sen no Rikyû, and a potter, Chôrijô, the founder of the Raku lineage. It is initially used exclusively for the creation of bowls for the tea ceremony: the “chawan”.
It refers to a much broader aesthetics and embodies a spiritual thought linked to this strictly codified ritual.
Each gesture is watched, the tea bowl is an object of contemplation and worship of beauty and its relativity, its simplicity and its imperfection.
Raku was brought in the West in the middle of the 20th century, not linked to the tea ceremony anymore, and many fine craft workers appropriated it to create vases, sculptures and other decorative objects.
CHAWANYA, BOOK OF A JAPANESE POTTER
by Raku Kichizaemon, XV° master of the raku potters dynasty
AVAILABLE AT THE CONCEPT STORE
Saturday, January 26th: presentation of the book by Andoche Praudel & Aude Tahon, president of Ateliers d’Art de France, at 3.30pm at the concept store bookshop.