"Raku" (樂窯）is low-fired ware and technique first produced in the 16th century by Sasaki Chōjirō. Here, we are firing the wares in a galvanized steel garbage can lined with fire blankets. This variation was developed by Peter Soldner in the 1950s.
Above clip is the end of our firing, where we are picking up red hot pieces with tongs and transferring them into other garbage cans (seen in the video) lined with sawdust. The combustion created by sawdust and hot ware chokes the glazes of oxygen, and we are rewarded with some shiny metallic surfaces and a smokey look, as if the ceramics were just dug out from the earth.
The kiln we are using above is a wood-fueled kiln called Noborigama (登窯). This type of kiln is always built on a hill with multiple chambers.
This particular kiln has two chambers, one chamber is sprinkled with salt and the other collects wood ash. The melted sodium in the salt chamber produces shiny and smooth surfaced wares. The dispersed wood ash in the other chamber leaves surfaces more rustic and bumpy.