Saggars are boxlike containers made of high fire clay or specialized fireclay which are used to enclose pots needing special treatment in the kiln. Historically, saggars were used to protect specialized glazes from open flame, gases and ash present in wood fired kilns. This technique was used in ancient China, Korea and Japan, and was popular in the industrial potteries of Great Britain. The name itself derives from a contraction of safeguard

Saggars can also be used to nestle pots down into beds of salts, sawdust, metal oxides and other combustible materials. These materials ignite or fume during firing leaving the pot buried in layers of fine ash. Potters choose to produce ware in filled saggars because of the resulting dramatic black and white markings -- with occasional flashes of color and texture. Porcelain and white stoneware clay bodies are ideal for displaying the striking patterns obtained through saggar firing. This unique finish, only lightly controlled by pot placement and saggar ingredients, presents a challenge to the potter's design sense.

Other traditional pottery processes which have been revived or modified by modern potters include low-temperature pit firing, the Asian technique of raku and the use of salt as a glaze element.

Rakuyaki (樂焼き) or Raku (樂) is a form of Japanese pottery characterized by low firing temperatures (resulting in a fairly porous body), lead glazes, and the removal of pieces from the kiln while still glowing hot. In the traditional Japanese firing process, the pot is removed from the hot kiln and put directly into water or allowed to cool in the open air. Raku is considered the traditional method for creating bowls for the Japanese tea ceremony. Raku tea bowls are hand-made from earthenware, each with a unique shape and style.

The term raku is derived from the Kanji character meaning "enjoyment" or "ease". For fifteen generations, it has been the title and seal used by a dynasty of potters whose work formed the central tradition of Japanese raku. In the 16th century, the first of these potters, Chojirō (長次郎), came under the patronage of the Japanese tea master Sen-No-Rikyu. In 1598, the ruler Hideyoshi bestowed the name Raku on Chojirō after he began making tea bowls to the great tea master's specifications. Upon the death of Chojirō in 1592, his son Jokei continued the raku tradition. Both the name and the ceramic style have been passed down through the family to the present.

Raku ware marked an important point in the historical development of Japanese ceramics. With the formal recognition of raku potters in the late 16th century, the Japanese artist-potter first emerged from the anonymity of the general craftsman. Other famous Japanese clay artists of this period include Donyu (1574-1656), Hon'ami Kōetsu (1556-1637) and Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743).