Sunday, August 16, 2009


no rain in pondy and looks like we will be doing a yagna to invite the god of rain. a yagna for four days four nights. well nearly 100 hours. the only difference would be we will be offering our pots to Varuna. at GBP we are about to fire our anagma kiln this Friday. all the pots which we hv made in the last two months are lined up. we just finished pre-loading- a dress rehearsal. it is said that loading an anagama kiln is the most difficult part of the firing. the potter must imagine the flame path as it rushes through the kiln, and use this sense to glaze the pieces with fire. We are done with that bit. it was great- there seejms to be a great group energy this time. not a single petty fight over placements of the pots or what has gone inside or not! well our cave kiln does take in whole loads of pots. each one had about 45 CFT volume of pots. ray built this kiln along with an Australian potter Peter Thompson few yrs ago. since then the kiln has seen three firings, this is the fourth one. and last year at the same time while the artists worked on the firing, i was the assistant running around making things ready, bringing chai paani...and hoping that one day i will be participating in an anagama firing. didnt expect for it to become true so soon! ray usually invites a group of potters to come together, this time its Antra, Adil, Rakhee, me and Ray himself: five of us.
the anagama kiln is an ancient type of pottery kiln used in japan. Was earlier used in china and korea way back in 5th century. an anagama, means a cave kiln, consist of different layers inside the kiln and firebox which is used to describe the space for fire separating the stoking space from the space for pots.ancient kilns used to be built by digging tunnels into banks of clay or in japan one can see anagama kilns built up the hill like a long crawling snake. the anagama is fueled with firewood, a continuous supply of fuel is needed for firing, as wood thrown into the hot kiln is consumed very rapidly. stoking occurs round the clock until an appropriate temperature is reached. burning wood not only produces heat of up to 1300 °C, it also produces ash and volatile salts. wood ash settles on the pieces during the firing, and the complex interaction between flame, ash, and the minerals of the clay body forms a natural ash glaze. this glaze may show great variation in color, texture, and thickness, ranging from smooth and glossy to rough and sharp. the placement of pieces within the kiln distinctly affects the pottery's appearance, as pieces closer to the firebox may receive heavy coats of ash, or even be immersed in embers, while others deeper in the kiln may only be softly touched by ash effects. the length of the firing depends on the volume of the kiln and may take anywhere from 48 hours to 12 days or more. the kiln generally takes the same amount of time to cool down.
looks like most of the arrangements hv been made, thanks to ray and debi and gbp people and the anagama team. fun filled four days of glazing- we have made three shino glazes this time, and thrilled about them. the best part of glazing for anagama is that one doesn’t hv to do much- the fire will do its own work, after all the pots are going to be inside for nearly 100 hours. we finish glazing tomo and start loading the kiln on Tuesday morning. for the first time i am happy am not so tall (not as tall as ray!) i can actually stand inside the kiln while loading. will hv to crawl witht he pots at the lower level though, but am ready for all that! friday evening the firing will start.
anagama pics will follow soon :)

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