‘Anagamania’ -6- 穴窯築き : Back in the Woods – Kamatsuki

I am back in my secret woods working alone and trying to finish my latest ‘Anagama Moby’ project.
I started the project just over 3 years ago.
First of all, my progress of kiln-building project was hugely hindered because the wood was in a terrible mess when I first went in. The woods were left like a mad man with a chainsaw chopped down trees for his insane pleasure. That was my first impression of the woods. Somehow it reminded me an American horror film ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)’ by Tobe Hooper. It was very difficult to walk in the woods and I have been tripped by the thin branches lying around and almost got poked my eyes by low branches many times. And I thought it would take at least several years to clear all the mess.
Along with clearing those unhealthy woods, my plan was simple and clear that I would collect wood, build Anagama and do wood-firings.
My kiln-site was located in the middle of The woods. I decided to collect wood for my first wood-firing using a few hand tools (without using a noisy chainsaw and protective gears) so I could work quietly with my own pace.
Secondly I felt that I had to do something for the potters in Tohoku. It was the mega earthquake hit Tohoku regions on the 11th of March 2011 and Tunami and aftershocks have damaged and destroyed many potters kilns. I know most of Japanese people have been prepared for typhoons and earthquakes well but the Great Eastern Earthquake was the biggest I have ever known. Nancy Fuller phoned me and said she would like to help potters in Tohoku and I agreed the idea of Tohoku potters aid-projects. It has been just over 2 years and a few months. We started our ‘Kamamataki-Aid’ project and we believe there must be someone who really need our help. I would like to help them first to keep Japanese pottery alive.
I knew it would take many years to see our efforts and also take my up time from my own pottery. I am still O.K. My own Anagama project has been slow anyway. (Gas)

三年程前、初めてこの森に入り作業を始めた頃は、前の誰かがまともに歩く事が出来ない程に森を荒したままの状態でした。地面に散乱している細い枝に足を取られながら、目に枝が刺さらないよう気を付けながら進まなければなりませんでした。薄暗い森の中は樹木の健康状態も悪く、森を生き返らすには何年掛かるかも分かりませんでしたが、とにかく不要な木を間引きながら、薪作りと窯築きをしようと、森の真ん中辺りを窯場と決め、作業を開始しました。自然の中で音の煩いチェーンソーを使わず手鋸で、既に死に掛けている木を見付けては伐採して、薪作りを始め、前にアメリカから輸入した薪割機(Log-Splitter)を唯一の助手として作業をしています。既に半死の針葉樹は、割ってから六ヶ月も積んで置くと、窯焚きにはいつでも充分使用出来る程乾燥します。
二年位で初窯の心算でおりましたが、東日本大震災の後、何とか東北の薪窯作陶家さんを支援したく思い、自分の窯築きと初窯の期日が遅れる事は覚悟の上で、「頑張れ!窯焚き」支援グループを結成し活動しております。
それでも、この夏には穴窯を完成させ、茶碗、花入れ、壺などを焼成したく独り頑張っております。 (君嶋)

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.
This entry was posted in anagamania, kiln-building (kamatsuki), kiln-site (kamaba) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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