‘Anagamania’ -13- 穴窯築き : Anagama Design デザインの選択

Through Facebook, I made a new distant pyromaniac friend.
He is Joe Bruhin who has been making his Iga type pots in Arkansas (USA) and I am showing here what he wrote me.

Hello Gas, thanks so much for your energy and blog and posting more images of Moby…I deeply appreciate your dedication. Yes, I have 2 wood kilns, the one I use most is an anagama, it is pretty exact to Kanzaki san sensei’s idea of anagama. I’m getting to understand it better after firing it 7 times…it is on a 3:1 incline, I’m thinking if I rebuilt it I would increase the slope but i still don’t understand this kiln fully so maybe that would be a mistake…..i do believe that Kanzaki sensei’s kiln , one of them, is on a steeper incline than 3:1, although this what he instructed me to do…..I was fortunate to have assisted in one of his firings in Shigaraki a few years ago.
I have about 3500 new super duty firebricks that a glass company gave to me….they have been sitting here under cover for 8 years….since i don’t really understand my current anagama fully I haven’t been too enthusiastic about building another but think it would be a good idea to build a small anagama. I have Furutani sensei’s book, and have always thought my next kiln should be based on his idea. You would think that one who has been earning his livelihood with pottery for almost 30 years would have his own idea what a kiln should be to manifest his vision. I must admit that Kanzaki has taught me a lot just by observing his work…I love Iga.
I like what I have seen of your work very much…..to the uneducated eye, I would say subtle. These are the kind of works that will stand the test of time, not flashy and ego inflated.
I will study your blog and website. I really don’t like to ask questions, everyone seems to want information with out paying the price of experience….i am curious about Moby’s incline and inside height.
I hope the flu is behind you and the new year will be kind and you find yourself inspired and peaceful throughout the year of the horse….stay strong and take very good care….Joe

I have never been to the States but I have made some potter friends through my website. Judging from what he wrote to me, he seems a very honest and serious wood-firer. He assisted one of wood-firings by Kanzaki Shiho in Shigaraki (Japan). More information about him, please check Joe’s website (http://www.joebruhin.com/).

I visited many pottery places in Japan and saw more than sixty kilns (not only Anagama and Noborigama in operation, but also old kiln sites just to see the ruins – I lost the count after 50 to be honest). I took some photos but mostly felt the shapes and inclines of the kilns physically and memorized in my head. Then I studied many pottery and kiln books available. I wanted one simple Anagama with mediæval features.
I saw Kanzaki sensei’s Anagama in Shigaraki nearly 20 years ago. Somehow, I decided to build my Anagama very similar to the design by Master Furutani Michio.

I have a slight difficulty in answering Joe Bruhin’s question about my Moby’s incline. Because all my Anagama I built in the U.K., I didn’t measure them for incline. I just walked around the sites and tried to find a slope I felt right. So Sometimes I had to build a mound or to dig deep down. In Japan, 30 degrees (for a kiln) seems to be meant a slope by 10:3 incline and it is a gentle slope. 3:1 incline is steeper. However if I had to build an ‘Iga’ type Anagama, I would try a bit steeper slope, posibbly real 30 degrees. It sounds rather confusing, doesn’t it.

All I can say is, I try to find or make a Japanese sloping hill in the U.K.


My latest Anagama ’Moby’ site in the woods has a very gentle slope but I did not feel it steep enough, so I made a tiny Japanese hill (mound) at the back of ‘Moby’. Latest ’Moby’ has rather complicated 3 different floor inclines just like a Mediaeval Anagama kiln-site floor in Japan. (Gas)

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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