It seems that studio potters worldwide have fantastic dreams about wood-fired pottery. I was born and grew up in Japan, and moved to the UK over 20 years ago. I am also one of dreamers that believes in wood-fring with Anagama (cave kiln) and in following the ancient potter’s wisdom.
Asian potters and potters in the rest of the world have a different understanding and a different concept of wood-firing.
In Europe and the USA, many studio potters and artist potters fantasize about magical results through wood-firing. Yet they are not paying much attention to the clay and the firewood they use. People are invited to wood-firings and atmospheres around kilns are more likely to be a barbeque party with drinks.
In Japan, most wood-fire potters shut their gates during their firing, invite no visitors, try to create a calm environment and concentrate on the firing. They prepare as much as firewood as the can afford, and place offerings of sake, rice and salt to kiln gods on the kiln near the fire-mouth. 3-4 day firings are considered to be rather short and over 6 day firings are quite normal among Japanese wood-firers.
These differences seem like between European ‘Alchemy’ and Japanese ‘Tantric Buddhism’.
I just hope that I am able to produce beautiful vessels some day, using my simple Anagama with split-firewood and tenacious labour.