Tea is about enjoying the moment and taking your time. Take in the scent, taste and calming effects that tea can bring.
Research has shown that food tastes better when presented in a beautiful way, for example by serving it on decorated plates. It is time to do the same with tea. Get the best possible outcome of your tea, with a tea cup that reinforces this momentum.
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The origin of Raku is born in Japan in the 16th Century. During the construction of a palace, the people needed tea cups quickly for their daily ceremony. By hand molding bowls and firing them in an open oven, they were removed as soon as the kiln reached it's highest temperature. From the kiln, they were thrown in water immediately to cool down quickly. The great drop in temperature causes the glaze to crackle and little fractures appear on the surface. Whenever the people drank tea from these bowls, tea would seep into these lines, causing them to turn darker with every cup.
In the late 1900's, the technique Raku was used more for aesthetic purposes. So in 1960 an American reinvented this old technique in a way, that the fractures in the glaze turn dark immediately in the process.
By throwing ceramics into sawdust and paper instead of water, the material starts to smoke and burn because of the high temperature. As soon as everything catches fire, it is sealed off from oxygen. The flames suck op all the oxygen, leaving the particles of ash no choice but to find their way into the cracks in the glaze, turning them dark.
Only downside to this technique is that the ceramics are not safe for consuming purposes anymore.
For my graduation project in 2015 I decided to bring back the traditional Raku firing. The fact is. that the meaning of Raku, drinking tea, completely is forgotten with the American Raku. It is not allowed to drink tea out of these cups anymore. Not to forget that the relaxation that comes with drinking tea, together with seeing the crackles darken with every cup, are lost in this firing. I wanted to get that feeling back again, but also create the excitement that occurs when a uncontrollable pattern is created during this primal firing.
This by placing the red hot ceramics not in sawdust or paper, but food. I have used tea with honey, cocoa powder, sweet potato and dark custard sugar. Each individual material creates a different type of pattern.