Hi there! I’m “Mak” (Marianne Kasparian) of MAKUstudio. I love raku and can truly say that I have found my passion. I remember getting a palm/psychic reading when I was younger and they told me that I wouldn’t find my career path until later in life…that I would try several things before finding the right one. I was perplexed at the time, but the wait was definitely worth it and my life experiences somehow brought me right to where I’m supposed to be. From three years of high school ceramics, design and color courses in college, a degree in Textile Marketing, taking metalsmithing after graduating when I decided I wanted to be a jeweler…to working at a bar that had 1000 beers, driving across country by myself and coming to a point in my life when I had to do much soul searching. These things all make me who I am today…a creative soul. I live to raku, and raku to live (in more ways than one).
At all my shows, I ask my customers if they are familiar with raku. Of course, it depends on the show, but I’d say 8 out of 10 have never heard of it. So, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the firing process which I adore.
As far as the actual process of getting to my final product:
*first I create the pieces out of clay
*then let them dry and sand the pieces to make sure backs are smooth and there are no sharp protrusions of clay
*then I bisque fire them in an electric kiln to harden them and get them ready for glazing
*then I wash the pieces to get any clay dust off them so that the glazes look good on the final pieces
*then I glaze the pieces (this is the most time consuming!)
*then I raku fire the pieces in an outdoor kiln (which my husband and I built ourselves).
The raku firing involves a fast firing that goes to over 1800 degrees F (for the most part), then pulling the pieces out of the kiln while they are red hot using special gloves and tongs and placing them in a reduction chamber (small can) filled with organic materials such as newspaper, leaves or sawdust; the organic materials catch on fire and the lid is then placed on the can; the fire wants oxygen to keep going and pulls it out of the glazes themselves; smoke is created, creating the matte black look of raku wherever there is no glaze; the pieces are left in the can to cool, then removed and scrubbed clean of the ashes and voila! There are many variables which can affect the final outcome of the glaze including the weather (humidity, wind, rain, temperature), how large or small the reduction chamber is, how long I take to get from the kiln to the can, how much organic material I put in the can, what type of material is in the can, and many more. That’s why raku is truly one-of-a-kind!
I hope my creations bring you much inspiration…that is what truly inspires me.
you can learn more about marianne and purchase her work on
her etsy shop,
or her facebook page...
thank you, marianne for sharing your work and process...