Saturday, January 23, 2010

Anagama Pots

Anagama Pots, originally uploaded by mhall209.

Today we went with our adult son to the opening of an Anagama kiln. A week or so ago our son Steven met with several other artists and loaded Harry's (pictured here) kiln with various pieces. They then stoked the fire for several days, and then let it cool. Today they opened the kiln to see the results.

In an Anagama kiln the heat is provided by wood, and the trick is to introduce ash into the chamber where the pots are. The ash mixed with the different glazes (or lack thereof) makes for really wonderful if not predictable results.

Harry decides exactly when the kiln is opened, and all the artists stand around like a bunch of little children on Christmas morning, waiting to be told when they can open the presents. When the giang gong is sounded the kiln is opened and for the next hour or so pieces are brought out of the kiln. Slowly and carefully. No two pieces are alike, and they are all wonderful.

Occasionally pieces will get stuck together. Harry uses a wooden stick to ever so gently tap the pieces apart. He is clearly a master of his craft, and I am fortunate that he is a great mentor for my son.

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