Anagama loaded for its ninth firing since May, 2011. For this firing I have constructed additional shelves in the firebox to support work. When placed directly on the floor the pieces became buried in coals too quickly. With this method I can allow for areas to remain exposed for longer periods of time, thus building up layers of ash before becoming buried in embers. Placement is key to color development.
Door is bricked up and preheated over night with propane.
Cub Creek residents Jessie, Abby, and Gabby unbricking the door after the cooling period.
The weather changed as soon as we began unloading. Although cold and rainy, the ember bed still contains active coals even after three and a half days of cooling. Plenty warm inside the kiln! Come July we will be sweating profusely while unloading.
Pieces in their prime. The excitement of unloading work from the firebox never seems to last long enough. Surfaces display an amazing amount of variation (both subtle and dramatic) from interaction with coals. It always amazes me to look back at photos taken during unloading after I have scrubbed and removed loose ash from the work. Something new is continuously revealed in the days following the unloading. The Tea Bowl in the foreground was pulled into the firebox using a long metal rod at the end of the firing. The high iron clay shifts beautifully when cooled in reduction amongst the coals. Photos of this bowl to come...
View of the other side. I've revisited these large forms which convey a very organic fullness - almost as if expanding from the inside much like fruit and vegetables. I admire the natural irregularity of these forms that results from the process of coil building.
Here are the same two pieces as in the photo above - both cleaned of loose ash. The form on the left opened up beautifully! I couldn't be happier to see the forms change from the intense heat of the firing. Accidents like these always reaffirm my interest in using clay as a means of documentation for change.
Tea cups, whiskey cups require the greatest amount of care after the firing to ensure that they are both comfortable to use and reflective of the material of which they are made. I find it difficult to start work on beautiful sunlit mornings. Pots deserve to be seen in natural light.
An arrangement of several several favorites, for now. It is much to soon to become attached to particular pieces at this point in time. Everything continues to evolve with time.
Occasionally it takes many months in order for me to finally understand a piece or appreciate it for its peculiar qualities. The plate on the upper left of this photo was loaded in the first four firings of our anagama. After its final time in the kiln I concluded that it wasn't going to get any better, so I discarded it - only to find myself speechless after discovering it months later in a box of forgotten work.
There is something about objects changed by time that escapes the aesthetic vocabulary. I could come up with no good reason why, after many forgotten months, the plate expressed something which it had not expressed before. Perhaps it was calling out all along - it just took me this long to hear its voice.