Every year since 1989, in late May, the “Raku Week” takes place in the public ceramics school of Nigrán.
During that week, over 700 ceramic pieces made by the students are glazed and fired using the ancient Japanese technique of Raku.
Raku ware is one of the Japanese arts exemplifying the ideal of wabi sabi aesthetics, the Japanese notion of imperfect or humble beauty.
During Raku week in Nigrán students of all ages gather together and collaborate during the entire process.
Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Raku week in Nigrán. You can see a clip here.
As opposed to traditional firing methods that require several-hour firings, Raku allows to see results in a matter of minutes. This, as well as the fact that Nigrán’s approach to Raku is collaborative and festive, make the Raku week a very special event.
These are some photos I took during the Raku week:
The process is the following:
- Glazed pieces are fired in a gas kiln until they reach 1000 degrees Celsius.
- The kiln is opened all at once, and the incandescent pieces are grabbed with long thongs and placed in metal buckets and covered in sawdust. The lack of oxygen ensures the pieces cool down in a reduction atmosphere.
- After 15min the pieces are taken out and cooled down with water.
- Finally, they are cleaned to remove the burnt sawdust.
And these are some of my results this year: