Micro raku is an amazing process where a ceramic pot can be fired in a regular microwave. That’s right, a regular house hold microwave! And it works!
The pots get to 900 degrees centigrade which is enough to do raku.
I would like to stress DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME , I actually melted our home microwave when I was first testing the microwave kiln.
I have a history working very hands on with very hot things as I studied glass blowing at university. It is actually how I found out about the microwave kilns. They are really meant to be used in glass fusing, but in big industry glass and ceramics can be fired using microwave radiation. I have heard of them before but always assumed they would be big, expensive and dangerous but in fact they are the complete opposite, a picture of a microwave kiln popped up on my search bar when I was looking for fibre paper - fibre paper is also a material I use with ceramics which is primarily used in glass fusing - seeing them together online is where my mind made the leap, maybe I could use both with clay! so I tried it and it works!!
After completely melting my first and beloved microwave I have since retro fitted my microwave and use a lot of specialised equipment So again I stress DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! It produces a chamber at TEMPERATURES OF OVER 900 DEGREES which can BURN THROUGH ANYTHING IF NOT HANDLED CORRECTLY.
Have a look at my videos and clips on TicTok and instagram and you will see what happens in the Microraku process. Its fast, Its HOT and it is potentially VERY dangerous.
I have lots of experience working with high temperatures and have all my old glass blowing safety equipment which I am utilising in my videos and at home.
What is the microwave kiln!?
The microwave kiln is a white cylinder made of a shelf and a lid. The white material is a hyper insulator so it holds any heat inside the lid. Painted inside the lid there is a black super conducting fabric that absorbs all the heat from the microwaves and super heats itself causing the interior chamber to heat up exponentially. This is the firing chamber that fires the clay.
To do Micro Raku I am utilising the speed that the microwave kiln heats up a a pot it and firing my pots in under 10 minutes per pot.
I don’t need the gas canisters, expensive equipment or a raku kiln as it is all done within the microwave.
I take the pots out of the kiln while they are red hot (which is extremely dangerous and not recommended) and using tongs I put the raku pot into my reducing pot.
The reduction atmosphere (atmosphere without oxygen) is the chemistry part of the process which looks like magic! The chemistry of the glaze starts to change as soon as the pot starts to cool, the heat from the flames and the lack of oxygen in the reduction environment affects the way the chemical elements in the glaze set. Often creating wild metallic colours, rainbows and deep lustres. It is quite random and each pot is completely unique.
While at such a high temperature, the burning wood chips in the reduction pot create a thick hot smoke that carbonises any unglazed ceramic areas turning it black.
The result being a Raku pot that looks like a magical object straight out of a volcano or distant planet.
I absolutely adore Micro Raku and love this non traditional approach.
For me, it takes out the complicated set up and the expense out of raku and makes it something that I can do at home relatively quickly. Once again I do stress that Raku is a specialist process and not to be tried yourself because it is very dangerous
And yes its not just Raku that you can do in this Microwave kiln. You can test glazes and trial designs too. I do not encourage anyone to do it at home. But you can follow my journey on Instagram and Tiktok. @adamceramic.