Sunday, August 30, 2009


has been taken two full days for me to tell myself the pots are out!
the pottery is looking like a sea of pots. pots everywhere. as if they hv been there from ages. as if someone has excavated them and spread them around...
great results.
could say in the history anagama firing in GBP this one has been the best.
everyone is super happy.
when we look back many things could have improved. the loading needs to be better. we were thinking of several options. in this firing one of the last shelves in the salt chamber had fallen. we did see the brick the first day of the firing, and were hoping that its not actually a brick but a piece of adil's which looks like a brick! looking at the entire kiln and the pots the one shelf damage is not really a big damage. but probably we can come up with better loading options for the next one.
now we are busy cleaning the pots. some have so much ash on them that we have to soak them in water and scrub them with a stone gently so that it doesnt damage the piece. our hands are covered with cuts using the stone. but looking at the pots anything is worth it. all the pain and hardwork.. the entire process has been so beautiful.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


the door opened.
a cave kiln full of mysteries and surprises.
we could take out only few pots today.
unloading tomo. dont think i will be able to sleep tonight!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


after firing during daytime on sunday i went back at 10.30pm to pottery to help the night team. adil was still not feeling well and i wanted to experience how it feels to be firing the anagama during night.
it was worth it. am so happy i behaved like a enthu cutlet and went for it!
the light at the chimney and the glow which spread around the pottery was amazing.
the whole night we fed so much wood to the kiln, in order to build up the ash (and also to get the cone ten and firebox two, down.
lola slept next to me throughout, i felt quite energetic and didnt feel sleepy at all.
by the time the morning team reached we had achieved a lot of ash pile on all the chnmbers but still the cone ten wasnt down.

i wanted to come back for my morning shift although everyone thought it was a foolish idea! i went back home, had a good shower, slept for two hours had coffee and then got back to the studio. and am so glad i decided that, because we finished the firing a day early and monday happened to be the last day of firing.
there was enough ash build up. we had the desired temperature. and the two stacks in the front chamber looked a bit dizy, we thought any further increase in temp might make the shelves collapse. so at three pm ray asked everyone's opinion. and we decided to finish the firing a day early. we called antra and neha and informed them
we decided to salt the last chmaber, adil made all the preparation. we took half kilo of salt made a pouch of it inside a newspaper. we took turns for spraying the salt, as soon the salt was sprayed salt packets were dropped through the stoke hole. it was a beautiful experience spraying the salt. one could actually see the glow on the pots. it was as if i was high on marijuana and hallucinating! am putting a picture of my pot, inside the kiln, taken by antra.
we finished by nine at night, nearly 75 hours firing.
then close all the openings and mud up the front and side doors.
we were home by ten thirty and i slept the whole day!
we open on thursday. keeping the fingers crossed..

Sunday, August 23, 2009


another great day.
we have almost reached the desired temperature. but we kept stoking big logs of wood to build the ash in the front of the kiln. and also started stoking at the middle and back.
now tonights work is mostly to keep the ash accumulating and also to bring down the cone 10 at the middle, at second firebox.
made chicken curry and veg rice for me veena madhvi and rakhee. sunday special.
but now the heat has begun affecting us. no one wanted to eat really! all we wanted was some cold juice...
adil is still not feeling well. i had just told ray that i would like to experience the night firing and would like to do one full night and one day continuously- 24 hrs. was plannign to do that tomo night and continue firing on tuesday during the day, our last day of firing. but just then adil called and said he could make it for tonight's shift. so i decided to do sunday night and monday morning.
so now i am off for the night shift.
with lots of fruits and glucose!
will be taking some night time pics but for the other nights' firing experience u could go to antra's blog : :

Saturday, August 22, 2009


the day time crew: rakhee, me, veena and ray.
we had so much fun. well according to adil we didnt keep the sanctity of the firing, as we were laughing ans singing and dancing around (ok, it was ME who was dancing around, but i am happy to hv been happy the whole day!) and i will forget adil's grouchy comment, he had fever and he has the right to be grouchy!
it was an intense day. the pyro stopped working . so when the night crew left (happily thinking they were on schedule) we were only about 600 degrees behind the schedule! ray fixed the pyro and also we used rakhee's pyrometre to measure the temp at the back of the cave kiln. looking back we did quite well, by six in the evening cone 10 was soft. cones are made of clay and they are put inside the kiln to measure the temperature inside the kiln. whatever the pyro might show it always a fifty or hundred degrees more inside the kiln. we hv different numbers for the cone, which stand for diff temperature. cone 10 is for 1300. the pyro was showing 1230 but the cone inside was responding to the fire. then the night team took over. it was 6.30 when we left the pottery.
other than the difficulty of catching up with the lost temp during the day , we got stuck at about 1160 for nearly two hours. ray tried all kinds of combination. thin wood, thick ones, solid huge logs of wood, opening the damper, closing it... but when later ray actually checked the cones inside we were much ahead compared to what showed outside. that was a relief. after that we mostly stoked huge logs of wood in the front in order to build up ash.
now as am writing this cone 10 must be down. and that means we achieved the desired temperature. now the night team will start stoking form the side holes as well as will maintain the temp in the beginning and will continue stoking big logs in the front to slowly build up the ash.
we reach there by 6 am tomo. and continue from there...

Friday, August 21, 2009


firing began at 5.30pm.
i stayed home during the day and did my magazine work.
antra and veena had to re do the doors, some problem with yesterday bricking up! (i came to know of it later in the evening)
we started firing at the back chimney first, and then the front bottom.
iber sweetly did a pooja to the kiln.
adil, neha, antra and iber for the night shift.
veena and me got them some munchies to eat and some fruit.
my shift starts tomo at 6 am.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


early in the morning ray called to inform there wont be electricity post 10 am! we needed light inside the kiln, so we called each other and reached pottery early and started to load. still nothing much was finished by the time the power went. so the whole day without the light and fan!! today was the most intense day at work. we even forgot to sing (ah i had forgotten to write, the last two days me rakhee and antra hv been singing all through the day, by the end of the first day adil had started whistling!). we started to load the second firebox and the front shelves both at the same time. we wanted to finish the loading soon so that there is enough time to brick up the door. there was some confusion while loading the front, one piece of rakhee's wouldnt fit and two of my baskets... but its minimum confusion keeping in mind we are loading such a huge kiln! also we forgot the supporting rod before we bricked up the side door, so we had to do the side door twice. but great day! we managed loading by four. then we had to search the right size bricks for the door, brick up the two doors, side and front and fill wad clay in all the tiny passages between the bricks and of course clean the entire kiln area...
i made coffee after that, we had it with cake!
lola was sleeping the whole day and she came to us only when we cut the cake...
we are ready for the four days firing now.
pots are all inside.
doors closed.
now we see them after the doors are open.
wood is stacked up and ready.
antra has designed a hightech door hole this time, for stoking in the front.
veena and me have polished off the store and bought lot of food.
tomo morning is the break time. am planning to sleep till late, ie if i dont wake up ten times during the night (last night whenevr i woke up i felt i was making laddos of wad clay and loading the pots!)
firing starts at 5.30pm toomo.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


yes, we hv survived the second day of loading. which was much easier than the first day. everyone had a rhythm of things: all the shelves were sorted out, the wad clay was getting ready, shelves painted with kiln wash, bricks and posts were ready, we had the kiln plan.... the biggest event of the day was loading ray's big sculptures which basically took the whole of the morning. we have loaded the shelves after the first fire box and after the second fire box. the first fire box was done yesterday and the second one will be done tomo. the other highlight was lola catching a bird (and eating it too). other than that the loading went very smooth. we even had time to make some coffee (thanks to adil) and do some gossip session in between. the pots look beautiful, all one top of one another. they will remain there for nearly two weeks now. just one more day of loading, one more day my hands are going to smell of rice husk! by the time we finished by seven me and veena had this sudden urge to eat veal chops at daily bread,and all of us ended up there for dinner...
tomo loading starts at nine. five more shelves to go and the second fire box...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


earlier i thought i would hv not enough energy to keep the diary going during the anagama. but i come back home so charged and excited i hv had problems falling asleep at night!
today is the first day of loading, everyone has finished glazing. pre load plan is ready. so we have actually started loading the anagama form today morning. ( a potter from delhi who was part of the anagama firing last year, had wished us saying we shd hv lots of fights abt the placement of pots and kill each other. no such luck. everything went smooth). we cleaned the kiln, put sand inside and made the kiln posts and shelves ready. we use kiln wash for the shelves, each shelf has to be cleaned and painted with kiln wash and wad clay has to be prepared: two kinds this time, one for the shelves and one for the pots. It was also so dark and hot inside the cave kiln- we fixed a light bulb inside and also set up a fan! yes, there was not a single dull moment the whole day!
we used the wad clay with fire clay and silica for the shelves and with lot of rice husk for the pots. the rice husk burns off quickly making the wad clay porous, so it can be knocked off from the pots easily: we all love the wad marks on our pots, the wads create beautiful patters on the surface. we also collected lot of sea shells and used it underneath the wad clay for the shell marks on the pots. each pot has to be waded. and kept in such a way that two pots don touch each other. but in anagama we usually tumble load the pots with the help of the wad clay.
it took us the whole day to load the back most three shelves which is our salt shelves. we are going to be spraying salt in that chamber when we reach the desired temperature. most of us had kept some raw pots for this chamber and used specially made salt slips and glazes.
we also managed to load the first firebox today. still its not even half the kiln. we do hv two more days of loading to go!

its glazing time...

i loved glazing the anagama pots. had so much fun. less is more. u just let the fire do the rest of the work. but i really learnt a lot from rakhee this glazing time. she has an unique way of handling her pieces. what she creates with two or three glazes is amazing. those who do pottery will know the colors and mixing of colors will never work as it works when u paint. i love the way rakhee creates landscapes on her pieces, the way she chooses to work with her brush: someone who knows the way the brush travels, the way the clay behaves, the way the slips and glazes behaves. watching rakhee glaze her pieces has actually changed the way i look at my pots and also the way i glaze them.