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Western or American raku pottery is a process when you remove your ceramics from the kiln at a bright red heat and subject it to post-firing reduction (or smoking) by placing your work in containers of combustible materials, which blackens raw clay and causes crazing in the glaze surface. This is an amazing process that requires protective wear, an outside space and heat resistant tools!
This technique is extremely unpredictable, you have no idea what effect the smoke will have on the vessel, so it can be really exciting, but also disappointing. You can be consistent with practice, but you can often not get the result you are after.
The Raku Kiln
You can't just get your pots out of any old kiln, at such a high temperature. Many kilns when you open them at that heat, radiate heat in a way that trying to open them would be somewhat insane. You also can't use top loading kilns as the heat rises and would be overwhelming.
Extremely simplified steps to raku pottery
(This is intended as a guide and an explanation to the process, we do not recommend you follow these instructions at home without the help or guidance of a trained professional.)