Backyard Raku Firing
This is a homemade raku kiln (left) and a reduction container (right). The kiln is gas fired and made from a 5-gallon steel bucket with insulating ceramic fiber on the inside.
After the kiln is warmed up to about 1700 degrees F, the kiln is opened and a bisqued and glazed bowl is placed on the shelf in the kiln.
The kiln is then slowly heated to 1900+ degrees, or until the glaze melts.
While the pot is still glowing red-hot, it is carefully moved to reduction, which is done in a metal bucket full of sawdust or newspaper.
The material in the bucket catches on fire, and the lid is placed on back on the bucket. Most of the oxygen inside the bucket is consumed, snuffing out the flame, and the pot is allowed to slowly cool in the oxygen free ("reducing") environment.
After cleaning off the soot and ash, the resulting pot has a unique, almost iridescent, glaze finish. Exposed clay, such as on the foot-ring, turns black. Small cracks in the glaze and clay are common, and part of the process that results in no two pots ever coming out the same.