As I use my ‘Raku-gama 楽窯’ for firing ‘Chawan 茶碗’ only, I have been thinking about my Raku tools should be designed and made for my purpose. Just about 2 weeks ago, I got my new Raku tools made by a local blacksmith.
I had an old pair of tongs which was given as my Christmas present (I am not sure that it was my birthday present as I was born on Christmas Eve). I have been using the tongs but I wasn’t totally happy with the crudely-made tool by one of U.K. potters’ suppliers. I have a few reference on Japanese Raku firing but I didn’t want an exact copy of Japanese tools either. Only way to satisfy my wish was to design my tools myself.
Later I learnt my local blacksmith, Paul Elliott’s ‘Hammer and Tongs’ has been established since 1988 and one of his most successful iron gates can be seen at Burlington Arcade (Piccadilly in London).