I showed off a few Raku fired bottles a few weeks ago. Here are a few pictures of the process to fire them. It's a very hands on technique with smoke and fire and heat. It's fun, but I wouldn't want to do it every time.
I've just raised the top of the kiln, you can see that the pots are glowing hot. They get up to about 1900 degrees.
Then you grab them with the tongs and move them over to a nest of sawdust and newspaper.
And once everything has caught fire you pop a cover on them and let them smoke. You can go back to the post at the end of August to see a few of the finish pieces.
This is my stoneware kiln, I just opened it yesterday and needed to let it cool a little more. This is the type of work I do on a regular basis.