A Happy New Year 2011 兎年おめでとう!!

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A Happy New Year of the Hare (or Rabbit) Everyone!
This is my first post for the New Year. Since cold winter snow and rain didn’t permit me working in the wood, I felt like I have been in hibernation, yet I had to do something useful at home. Therefore, I have been filing favourite pot images in my desktop computer. While I was doing it, I found some good images of Japanese Mediaeval pots and my latest tea bowls (I thought I lost those images).

All the tea bowls on the slideshow above were made in the Czech Republic. I dug the local Czech clay and processed by hand, made the bowls and wood-fired them in December, 2009. 

雪に埋もれた年末と雨のお正月を過ごし、どのような2011年・兎年にしたいか思いを巡らせながら居ります。今は隣町に住む妻との別居生活も、今月で一年四ヵ月になります。独身ライフをエンジョイするには少々歳を重ね始めておりますが、未だ作陶の意気軒昂ですので、先ずは春先からの窯築き、そして本年は特に茶陶に励みたく思う今日この頃です。

About Gas

Hi, I am a wood-fire potter, living and working in the Japanese tradition in Tring, Hertfordshire (UK). Following mediaeval potter's wisdom, I design and build simple wood-fired kilns called 'anagama' for long period of firing and 'raku-gama' for quick (glazed tea bowl) firing. My anagama firing usually takes 9 - 10 days.
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One Response to A Happy New Year 2011 兎年おめでとう!!

  1. Hello Gas,
    We’ve fired the “Pyranhagama” for the second time now and have managed to coax some promising results from the “new” kiln. As mentioned in previous posts, the first firing was mainly intended as a test firing…a measure of the kiln’s ability to hit and withstand top temperatures as well as provide a gague for time and fuel consumption for future firings. As a result, the pots were not subjected to a controlled atmosphere in the final stages and were a bit dry as a result of the first firing’s contitions…basically the kiln was fired at full draw to top temp of Cone 14…then reduction cooled.
    For the second firing…we fired fairly rapidly to top temp of cone 13 and then opened up the passive dampers in the flue and closed down the primary and secondary air to a bare minimum. The resulting atmosphere yielded nice flashing on nearly all of the pots. The stall was held at around cone 10 for 4 hours. Thin-split soft wood was used to maintain atmosphere and temperature. The kiln was closed down at all exit and entry points immediatly after stuffing the firebox with green white pine. Five days later, we unloaded a firing full of nicely fired pieces. Ash build up and melt was evident throughout the kiln (stacked loosely in front). The flashing on the porcelain (center of kiln) was complimented by yellow/grey ash deposits on the flame-side of pieces.
    Changes to consider for next firing:
    I’d like to experiment with some flashing slips in an effort to explore a broader range of color on pieces in the center section of the kiln…Helmer and Tile6 will be the kaolins of choice. Shinos also responded nicely to the firing…an original Wirt Shino with Tile6 kaolin substituted stood out as a keeper regarding shino exploration. There were a few problems with a celadon that pooled in a couple porcelain bowls…the glazed crazed severely…rendering the bowls non-functional…so will experiment with a new recipe in the next firing.
    Regarding firing technique, we will try a subtler “attack” phase next time…opening a couple passive flue dampers on the way up…hope to get more ash depositing on the back shoulders of pieces. Tumble stacking could be a way to achieve some new and interesting results as well. If anyone has any questions or comments…would love to hear from you. Gas has begun what can be a nice exchange for potters from all over the world…would very much like to make some connections and share any info I can. So exciting to be getting results that inspire continued exploration! Thank you Gas for providing an opportunity to share the discoveries…even if other potters have come upon these kinds of insights…it is still a thrill to make breakthroughs in understanding for ourselves. All the Best, Trevor

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