Ceramic designer Rebeka Kahn and the magic of raku

Rebeka Kahn specialises in the creation of three-dimensional art pieces made from clay and glass and employing the ancient Japanese method of raku firing. 

Rebeka’s method results in a distinctive glaze through the utilisation of organic materials such as wood chippings, nuts and paper during a firing method that results in beautiful lustrous pieces of wall art.

Photo of Ceramic designer Rebeka Kahn and the magic of raku

In the past three years, and, in parallel with the opening of a much larger studio and workspace, Rebeka has gone from employing seven people to  having 14 staff members. Rebeka produces some of the best-selling wall art at the Kilkenny stores, as her products prove very popular with customers, and she now has her eye firmly on export too - planning forays into the UK, US and French markets.

Photo of Ceramic designer Rebeka Kahn and the magic of raku

Rebeka is known too for her use of colour. Her pieces come in a variety of different sizes, and, while she is perhaps most well-known for her organic natural images of flowers, seascapes and landscapes, she has also begun producing contemporary designs incorporating hot air balloons and butterflies.

Photo of Ceramic designer Rebeka Kahn and the magic of raku

Rebeka specialises in raku firing - an ancient ceramic design technique that is characterised by a metallic lustre and a cracked appearance. Rebeka designs each piece which is then made from start to finish by hand in her studio in the foothills of the Dublin mountains. 

She spent many hours during the initial phase of her business perfecting the techniques necessary to make her wall art.

Photo of Ceramic designer Rebeka Kahn and the magic of raku

Each artwork begins life as a piece of clay which is flattened and moulded to Rebeka’s design. It is then dried out very, very slowly before being tested scientifically for moisture content and being placed in a kiln for 24 hours. 

After a further 24 hours cooling-time, each piece is given three coats of glaze, all of which are carefully hand-applied. But it's the  next step which produces the real magic of Rebeka’s artworks. 

The material is set alight - flames burning hot and bright for several minutes

Each piece is placed into one of her purpose-built raku ovens where it is placed on a bed of organic material such as chestnuts, wood, dried leaves or paper (each one creating a distinctive result). The material is set alight - flames burning hot and bright for several minutes - before a lid is placed on top, thus sucking the oxygen out, and the piece is left for two to three hours.

Photo of Ceramic designer Rebeka Kahn and the magic of raku

On removal from the raku oven, the piece is painstakingly cleaned with a small brush before it is placed in a frame and the 3D elements are added. From a mundane piece of clay thus a lustrous and vibrant piece of art is born.

Photo of Ceramic designer Rebeka Kahn and the magic of raku

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