ABOUT WOOD-FIRING

Wood-firing is a traditional process that was first introduced to Japan from Korea in the fifth century.  The anagama (single-chambered kiln, wood-fired) allowed temperatures to exceed the 700 degrees previously gotten from bonfires, pit firing, etc.  For many centuries the anagama continued to provide the Japanese potters with the aesthetics and ceramics that they desired.  But in the early 17th century, the anagama lost its importance and was replaced by the noborigama (multi-chambered climbing kilns) for efficiency reasons. Recently, in the last 20-30 years, the anagama has resurged in popularity, allowing for contemporary expression in ceramics as an art form.

I utilize a variety of wood-firing effects that I can get when I use the different woods that I harvest from my property to give my pottery the look that I desire.  The pieces are first bisque fired to cone 06, then glazed with shinos, oribes and glazes that favor fly ash and the soluble salts and minerals from the wood used in the firing (yohen).  After placing wadding on the bottom of each piece, as well as between everything that touches something else, the kiln is loaded and the bricket (brick door) is set in place. I start candling the kiln (a small fire) for a few hours, slowly building up to a large fire a dozen hours later. The flame caresses each piece as it slips by, depositing flame marking (hi-iro) and ash glaze (shizenyu) on each piece. I can control the speed of the flame to leave different markings on the pieces. A slow flame wraps around the piece where as a fast flame hits only the front half that faces the flame. I use 3-4 different types of wood to create the ash patterns I want. Also careful consideration is given as to its placement in the kiln. All of my pieces have my potters mark, a "WP" with a split fire above it. I built my kiln with a twin stack at the top of the chimney that throws a distinctive split flame during the wood firing process.


The following pictures give you a visual overview of the process once the pottery has been glazed and ready to fire.







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