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Raku Workshop – Session 1

April 13 @ 10:00 am 1:00 pm

Date: Saturday, April 13th
 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
 Ken Carmean
Location: Back of Kiln Shed
Adults, 18+
Skill Level:
 All Levels
Sliding Scale:
 $40 / $55 / $70

About the class

In this workshop, students will be able to fire multiple times and explore the possibilities of Raku firing and other quick-fire techniques including horse hair, and other techniques. No Raku experience necessary to participate! 

Students should bring bisqued pieces to glaze the day of, or plan to glaze the week leading up to the workshop. A variety of sizes and shapes are encouraged to maximize the amount of work that can be fired, we will fire as many pieces as time allows. 

What is Raku? 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 affects the glaze color and clay bodies. The drastic thermal shock also produces a crackle-glaze effect in some glazes. The original Japanese style of raku is an outgrowth from Buddhist influences in life and especially in the tea ceremony.

Participants will receive a full outline of the workshop including materials to bring and appropriate attire for this hands-on experience. 

Students should bring 3-5 pieces of bisque-ware following the following guidelines (if you are a Sonoma Ceramics open studio member, we will have a special bisque firing to ensure that all pieces are ready for the kiln before hand.

  • Size range – Cup to medium vase sized
  • Forms to stay away from; Low rimmed, wide trays and plates can be difficult to pick up with Raku tongs and often have higher risk of cracking
  • While many clays can be used in Raku, we encourage heavier grog stonewares that can withstand thermal shock well.

Please share any special considerations (medical, physical, learning) that will help your instructor make your class accessible and accommodating for you. You can share these considerations when registering or by emailing Sean at

When you register for a class, you’ll be offered three price tiers. The middle tier comes closest to what our registration fees used to be, and covers about 50% of the full cost of your participation in the class – with the other 50% covered by community donations. The first tier creates accessibility for people with limited income, while the third tier covers the full cost of participation – so that we can use community donations to support other people’s registration costs. When you choose to register at the third tier, you directly help support the Center’s efforts to remove financial barriers for others.

The Sonoma Community Center (the Center) strives to create an inclusive, safe community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The Center is committed to creating such an environment because it brings out the fullest potential in each of us, which, in turn, contributes directly to creating a community of belonging. In order to ensure a positive, safe, and welcoming experience for everyone, all program participants are asked to abide by the following policies, community agreements, and restorative safety protocol.

About the instructor

Ken Carmean

Instructor / Artist

Ken started making Pottery in his Senior year of High School, from there he attended the local Junior College in San Bernardino, Majoring in Art. He enrolled in Dick Bossard’s class and It wasn’t long before he was an emerging Studio Potter, making clay, glazes, loading glaze kilns, firing Salt and Raku kilns. He worked for this amazing potter from Fontana who had a production studio. There he learned how to throw a wide variety of forms quickly. He also learned how to single-fire work to save on costs. For 14 years he operated Arrowhead Stoneware. He has sold his work all over the western United States to many different retailers, art shows, and Galleries.

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