Raku Workshop at Inverewe Garden

Taking place at

The Highlands


14 Sep


Come along to the inspirational Inverewe Garden to learn the amazing art of Raku and create one-off wonderful masterpieces!

Inverewe is a place of inspiration, where the art of a garden in a dramatic landscape setting is itself a place where art can be formed.


This year, Inverewe is proud to host its first Raku workshop, where the firing of the clay and reduction in wood ash from several of the trees that grow in our garden will inform this unique pottery. As metallic and bright colours effuse the cracks in the glaze, random patterns will echo the naturalistic network of paths and planting. Raku pots are 'one of a kind' and will be unique to each participant, whilst all will be connected through the place and plants of the garden. 


The course will be led by professional potter, Kevin Line, and includes:


A tour around Inverewe Garden with the Head Gardener

An introduction to the history of Raku ceramics 

All materials, allowing you to take your finished pot away with you 

Refreshments: coffee/tea and light lunch each day


The workshop will take place at our newly-created facility, with spectacular views across Loch Ewe


Dates: 14 - 16 September


Times:  9.30 - 16.30 (14 & 15) and 9.30 - 17.00 (16)


Price:  £180 for three days, including tuition on the potter’s wheel and hand made techniques.


All levels welcome. Booking Essential


For further information, please contact us at inverewe@nts.org.uk and see the FAQ below



What is Raku Pottery?

Raku generally refers to a type of low-firing process that was inspired by traditional Japanese raku firing. Western-style raku usually involves removing pottery from the kiln while at bright red heat and placing it into containers with combustible materials. Once the materials ignite, the containers are closed. This produces an intense reduction atmosphere which effects the colours in glazes and clay bodies. The drastic thermal shock also produces cracking (known as crackling since it is deliberate). The original Japanese style of raku is an outgrowth from Buddhist influences in life and especially in the tea ceremony.

What is the history of Raku?

Delving further into raku's history, it dates right back to the early 1550s as mentioned specifically for the Zen Buddhist Masters in their ceremonial tea ware. It's been well documented that this was the favoured method of ceramics for the Zen Buddhist masters as raku ware touches on many of the things that Zen philosophy embodies, most notably its simplicity and naturalness. Raku firing really is one of the most natural techniques that you can encounter in pottery. In raku firing all of nature's elements are used, earth, fire, air and water. The earth is used to make the pot, then it's put into a reduction chamber kiln, then plunged into water. The cold water halts the firing process.

A lovely fact about raku is that its name literally translates as 'happiness in the accident'.

What type of clay should you use for a raku firing?

Any type of clay can be used for a raku firing, although specific raku clay can be bought and this creates the best results. Raku clay has typically high thermal shock resistance and low shrinkage. Another important factor in the creation of your raku firing is choosing the right type of glaze, a glaze whose properties react in the best way in a raku firing.

What glazes react the best in a raku firing?

Most importantly raku is a low fire kiln process, which means that almost any low fire glazes, whether you have bought them commercially or created them yourself, should work just fine. The temperature of a raku firing, reaches around a cone 010 - 06 range.

Is raku safe for using with food?

Despite raku's history and the fact it used to be used in ancient tea ceremonies, it's recommended that you keep your raku pieces purely decorative. This is due largely in part to the fact that it's fired rapidly, meaning, although it's beautiful it can be porous, fragile and sometimes the glaze might flake in places. So while the pieces can look incredible, they're not really to be used as functional ware.

Do you have to have a special kiln for a raku firing?

There are a range of raku kilns on offer, that are designed specifically for the raku firing process and experienced potters can also make their own raku kilns in a dustbin. A raku firing is usually done after the piece has been bisque fired first. Then the glaze is applied and it's put through a raku firing. The firing cycle of raku is usually much faster than a typical firing and if you're plunging your raku ware into the flames, a firing can take as little as 15 - 20 minutes to fire. In raku firing you must put your ceramic ware into combustible material for example sawdust. Be prepared, with raku firing a huge amount of smoke is created.

What kind of results will I see with a raku firing?

You'll take your raku ware out of the kiln when it's red hot, so you won't be able to see the result until the piece has cooled. Some of the interesting results you might see are crackled glaze surfaces, black smoked unglazed clay or even beautiful metallic effects. If you like this kind of effect you can also look into saggar firing or obvara firing.


Dates & Times

Friday 14 September


3-day Workshop