‘Anagamania’ -2- 穴窯築き : Idea of Mediæval Anagama 中世穴窯のアイデア

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I received a couple of e-mails from Chris Drobnock in Pennsylvania, USA. He is a keen young potter with a passion for wood-firing. He made very good points about my kind of Anagama. So I decided to show his emails and also give you his web and blog links here.

I have been interested in ceramics and anagama for about 8 years now and have been making pots and firing wood kilns for that long. I fell in love with clay in 2002 and then went to university to study ceramics and printmaking. I have moved back to the area where my parents are from and have begun to make motions to build an anagama of my own. I have been following your website and blog for some years now and I am very interested in the styles of kilns you build ( the long flame shaped kilns ). I was just going over some of the images to look at your relative dimensions and decided to contact you. I really love the aesthetic of your building style and I have many questions. I hope that it is ok if I contact you in the future to ask your opinion of kiln building and the like.
Much respect,
Chris Drobnock
Hello Chris,
Many thanks for your e-mail and your interest in Anagama. My apologies for not replying sooner to you.
I quite often receive e-mails with many questions about Anagama building and Kin-Tsugi (gold lacquer restoration) . Although I try to reply to questions individually, it is getting rather difficult for me to answer everyone of them.
I am building my new Raku kiln this winter and then onto another Anagama in the wood early spring. I have a web link to Trevor Youngberg who is going to build his new Anagama in Connecticut around the same time. Instead of replying to Trevor individually, I have decided to add a new category called “Anagamania” to my blog. Trevor also thinks it is a good idea. I will explain the kiln building process with detailed images. Trevor will ask questions which I will answer. This way, we will encourage and help each other.
I hope my blog posts will encourage other potters who may be interested in building Anagama. Moreover, I won’t have to repeat myself over and other again.
Kind Regards,
Thank you for the quick reply. I understand that you must get many inquires about what you do and I would be glad to follow along for whatever insight you can give. Its just that most kilns that seem to be out there, this goes along with the kiln I saw on Trevor’s site, start with vertical walls and yours do not and neither do Furutani’s examples. I wish to build a kiln that follows the design that has no vertical wall. Also your kilns seem to have a very gradual slope yet many kilns that I have seen are more sloped and fatter, not so flame shaped. Why is it that up until I found your site most kilns that I had seen do not follow the flame shape design, is it just that people do not know any better?
Thank you for your time Gas,

Finally, I have uploaded a few photos to explain where my Anagama ideas came from. It is all personal preference. You can try whatever you fancy with your kiln as long as it works.

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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5 Responses to ‘Anagamania’ -2- 穴窯築き : Idea of Mediæval Anagama 中世穴窯のアイデア

  1. Boyka says:

    I am so glad to find your blog about building Anagama kiln. I hope one day I will have opportunity to build my own. By now I am learning how this could be done. Thank you very much for shearing this information!

  2. Chris D. says:

    Dear Sir,

    I just wanted to let all interested parties know that I published some new anagama fired wares on my website. They exhibit some very desirable effects (in my mind) and if I am fortunate enough to fire the same kiln again I would hope for similar results. Nice, hot, and runny! The kiln is not exactly flameshaped although it has some of the features of a flame shaped kiln. It was built by Jack Troy when he became interested in woodfiring and is also the kiln that I first learned to fire. It should be noted I suppose that along with the insight toward the woodfired aesthetic and firing techniques Jack was my first teacher in clay and continues to give me valuable insight on the walk that is being a ceramic artisit.

    Thank you Gas,
    Chris D.

  3. Hello Gas,
    Since mid April, I’ve been busy with the new kiln construction. A bit delayed but now I can say the first firing of the “Piranhagama” is scheduled. We’ll be firing this August 11-13. Have been busy with making the pots to fill the kiln and am looking forward to preparing the wood and all. I’ll send you a few pics of the construction process and of course, the firing itself and fired results. Thank you for your enthusiastic support of the work being done here. Take care, Trev

    • Gas says:

      Hello Trevor,
      Thanks for posting your comment. Hope all going well with the first firing of “Piranhagama” firing in August.

  4. Trevor says:

    Hi Gas,
    Looking forward to your discussion of Shino’s. I’ve mixed and applied a revised version of the Shino we corresponded about…am hoping for an improvement this time around. Will share the results with you as soon as they are documented. We are scheduled to fire this Dec. 28 thru 30th, 2012. We’re going with more glazed surfaces over stoneware and a bunch of raw Grolleg porcelain. After having fired the “Pyranha-gama” four times now..we are beginning to get a sense of the various zones and the appropriate placement of glazes/ clay bodies. So fun, next time around will be garden pots and some new clay bodies..the adventure continues. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! Trevor

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