The Raku Process

Raku - an ancient Japanese method of pottery glazing - has been enthusiastically adopted in Africa where its smoky, mysterious lustre fits perfectly into the African sense of style. As a ceramic artist, Gerhard de Beer is a leading exponent of the Raku method.

Each piece of Raku pottery is hand-fashioned out of a sand-based clay, baked in a kiln, individually etched and hand-glazed by an artisit. It is then fired at an extremely high temperature after which it is placed in sawdust where is smolders. This sudden cooling process results in the beautiful and unique crackled glaze.

1. Design

1. Design

The in-house designed item is press moulded and then left to dry for a couple of days.
2. Bisque Firing

2. Bisque Firing

The products then gets bisque-fired in an electric kiln – this process takes +- 3-4 days.
3. Glaze

3. Glaze

Once completely dry the glaze is applied.
4. Raku Kiln

4. Raku Kiln

The items are then fired in a raku-kiln to a temperature of 1000º C, which takes +- 75 minutes, for the glaze to mature.
5. Removal

5. Removal

The kiln is then lifted off the items by means of a pulley and the hot items are removed.
6. Cracking

6. Cracking

This sudden change of temperature causes a thermal shock cracking the glaze.
7. Raku Pit

7. Raku Pit

The items are then placed in a pit with sawdust which catches alight and smoke penetrates the cracks, highlighting the characteristic raku effect.
8. Polishing

8. Polishing

Once the item has cooled down, it gets washed to remove the soot and then polished.
9. Ready for Sale

9. Ready for Sale

From start to finish this process can take anything up to 12 days. The item is now ready for your home!


Raku is instantly recognisable. It has a deep, velvety black body that contrasts with areas of black-stained, green, blue, yellow or white crackled glaze, and the slight imperfections of the crackling give added lustre to the artist's delight in the living colour that the glazes produce. See our Raku Products here.

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