noun, often attributive ra·ku \ˈrä-(ˌ)kü\
1) Japanese hand-modeled pottery that is fired at a low temperature and rapidly cooled
2) a process by which pottery is fired at a relatively low temperature and then moved while hot to a closed container with combustible materials (as paper or sawdust) that ignite and cause a reaction creating colors and patterns in the pottery's surface; also : pottery produced using this process
"What are the factors that define a worthy chawan? This surely is a question open to debate, yet most will agree upon this: It has to be a well-balanced, pleasantly-weighted form that brings together all aspects of composition from the way the lip is angled, to the curves of the body and how that will influence the inner “pool,” all the way down to the underside where the kodai-foot is carved."
The slideshow below highlights chawan made by Art II students:
1. Understand the importance of the tea ceremony and the reverence of chawan to the Japanese culture.
2. Understand and recognize the "Japanese aesthetic" and how it differs from that of Western cultures.
3. Throw a tea bowl on the wheel - in so doing, get a feel for the focus and mental clarity needed to "center" the clay.
4. Understand the main steps in wheel-throwing, including the importance of clean-up procedures and use of specific tools and equipment.
5. Learn how to trim your tea bowl to give it a "foot" and a finished feel, which supports the overall aesthetic; sign the bottom.
6. Consider how your tea bowl can be decorated before the bisque firing - add underglaze? incising/sgraffito? impression/texture (sand, rice, etc.)? appliqué? (if not, do not worry, you can do beautiful things with the underglazes/glazes/masking after the bisque firing....but your color, texture, pattern choices should support the overall theme of your work).
7. Understand how clay turns to a ceramic material (pay close attention to that handout you were given) and the raku firing process.
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