Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ceramic Raku Art Beads

                                    Ceramic Raku fired Beads by Mary Harding

Just last week I did a raku bead firing at my home so that I would have some color samples for a class I would be teaching at the Thousand Islands Art Center in Clayton, New York.   They are pictured above.  The class was exciting and our beads came out well.  Since raku beads are fired quite differently than kiln fired ceramic beads, I thought I would show you a couple of pictures of how they are fired.  For this class the raku firing was a collaborative affair with the ceramic studio and myself. At The Thousand Islands Art Center they have a very skilled potter and a wonderful raku kiln which they break out 4 times a year for a community open studio type event.  The public can purchase a pot, glaze it with raku glazes and watch it get fired.  We were invited to participate in this firing which took place last week.

The picture above is of the kiln.  It  has a crank that opens it from the top after it reaches the temperature of 1800F  degrees.  The kiln is fueled by a propane tank like the ones used for outdoor grills.
This picture shows the kiln being opened up.  You can see the flames that heat it on the sides and the tool in the foreground is the giant tongs used to pull out the red hot ware (and our homemade bead rack) and put it in barrels that are full of shredded paper and other combustibles.  Once the lid is placed on these containers,  the beads and pots will be starved of oxygen which will in turn entice the glazes to show their metallic colors of copper, blue, red and more.  This is called the  reduction phase.  After about 20 minutes  the hot pots and beads are dunked in water which completes the process and causes the metallic colors to brighten and some of the glazes to crackle.    
Now that you  have some idea of the process for making raku beads, I would like to share with you today a number of raku fired art beads I  have found on the web.  Raku beads can be very colorful and they can also be gungy and dark with exotic surfaces.  I hope you enjoy this raku bead tour.                        
                          Handmade Raku Fired Ceramic - Lentil Bead - Focal Bead - in shades of Turquoise Emerald and Copper
                               Beautiful Raku Fired Lentil Bead By Lisa Peters Art
We will start with Lisa Peters, who  has long been at the forefront of raku bead making.
You can see the metallic glints of copper at the center of this beads.  The dark areas of black are characteristic of raku fired beads as well.
Marianne Kasparian, is the creative person behind Maku Studio.  She too has been making raku fired art beads for a number of years.  Her work is characterized by strong metallic colors and bold images.
Raku Ceramic Heart Pendant Jewelry Handmade Gifts         by MAKUstudio
                                  Raku Ceramic Heart Pendant by Maku Studio

Raku Ceramic Pendant Raku Jewelry Supply Handmade             by MAKUstudio

                                   Raku Ceramic Pendant by Maku Studio

Love all those swirls of red copper and blue which the raku firing made happen.

198. Three Raku Autumn Midnight Rusty Copper Leaves
                              Raku fired feathers by Wondrous Strange

More metallics, this time in golds and silver.
164. Viking Invasion Hoard  Ten Charms Copper Moss Green Burgundy  Raku Pendants
Viking Invasion Hoard Raku Fired Charms and Pendants  by Wondrous Strange

Raku Steampunk Rivet and Filigree Necklace Connector
From Petra Compeau of Scorched Earth a raku fired steampunk necklace connector

Raku Iron Age Pendant - Steely
Raku Iron Age Pendant   Scorched Earth on Etsy

Urban Industrial Tribal Raku Earring Shield Earrings
Incredible metallics  titled  Urban Industrial Tribal  Shield  Earring components from  Duane Collins of Elements Pottery
Raku and Copper Focal Bead Set

Stunning set of raku fired beads is bright copper and other metallics by Elements Pottery
Gilded Buds-  Handmade Porcelain Raku Connectors

Gilded Buds Porcelain Raku Connectors by Kiyoi Design
Handmade Porcelain Raku Pods
Porcelain Raku Pods by Kiyoi Designs

Pendant gold raku ceramics - jewels in raku - europeanstreetteam

Modernistic Raku Fired Pendant by Thomas Lussi of RakuLabFly

Buttons raku pottery and copper yellow half-moon - europeanstreetteam - rakulabfly

Button Set by Thomas Lussi  RakuLabFly

I want to finish up this tour with the delicate raku screen printed pendants by Caroloine Dewison of  BlueberriBeads  The one above is a screen print on ceramic clay that has been raku fired!!!

      And this pendant is a Raku and Lustre fired Fox Pendant by BlueberriBeads

  I hope you have enjoyed this look at raku art beads.  May they inspire and enrich you.
Thanks so much for stopping by,


Unknown said...

Totally drool worthy beads!!!

Unknown said...

So exciting to see the variety that comes from Raku! I can't wait to get my hands on clay again!

dgmidkiff said...

Thanks so much for featuring my little raku treasures in your blog post. To be included with so many raku artists that I have admired for years is such an honor!!

Health, Happiness and Abundant Creativity to you all!

Anonymous said...

I have always loved the look of raku! I like those things that have an element of the unpredictable and the unexpected - so much more alive and interesting. Thanks for the fun tour! xo -- Julie

Unknown said...

I have a huge stock of bisque fired ceramic beads in white porcelain by African women which have been stored in dry containers for many years. My wife used to own a bead factory which was primarily created for upliftment of poverty and job creation.
When she closed her factory I salvaged her ceramic glazed bead stocks and created a small business in Australia with my beads barefoot sandals and other jewellery! However I have many thousands of unglazed beads pictures of some which are on my Facebook page Tommy Walter Druce see "Barefoot Sandals"
My question here is how will my beads go with a raku fired finish, and are there any Raku people who would like to try out firing Raku finishing porcelain bisque beads? My email address is
I am very impressed with your blog, and look forward to your comments.
Kind regards