Swanica explores Japan

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


My first ANAGAMA firing in Lee Love's kiln.

First, we clean the shelves from the former firing, so the shelves will be even and nice.



Lee paints the shelves with kiln wash, so, when accidents happen, and pots stick, it will be easier to take of the shelf.


Then we glazed our pots.
Lee smiles relaxed and has everything under control!


Jim and Hank fill the anagama. The two stoke holes are in the front. The fire goes through the flues and the flames shoot up in the back where the fire is the hottest.



Jim and Adriaan, my husband, sawing the waste wood for the fire in smaller pieces.


Weighing the wood, so that, every time you put wood in, the amount is the same: 2 Kg or 1.5Kg. First, every 10-15-20 minutes, but slowly building up to every 2-3 minutes till cone 13. This is around 2410 F or 1320 C.


You have to stoke when no flames are shooting out anymore from the peephole.



Stoking the anagama.




The stoke holes. By looking in the holes you can tell that the fire is already quite hot.


Unfortunately, we had to leave the next day. The kiln had to cool for several days.
I'll show you my results in one of my next blogs.


Hank and Jim traveled with me and Adriaan back to Kamakura, where they stayed for 2 nights.

We still has some other interesting visits.

We had a fabulous meeting with Yoshihiro Takishita at his home high up on Genji-yama (mountain) of Kamakura. He is an architect and antique collector/dealer. He moved and restored a gashi-type of farmhouse (snow country) and we got a tour from ground to attic and he showed us his screen collection dating from the Muromachi period. (The era when members of the Ashikaga family occupied the position of shogun is known as the Muromachi period, named after the district in Kyoto where their headquarters was located; 1392-1573).
He is the architect responsible for the restoration of the Yanagi home across the street from the Mingei-kan in Tokyo.

Next day, we went to see Robert Yellin, who lives in Mishima.
Robert Yellin has lived in Japan since 1984. His passion and deep interest in Japanese pottery has led him from collector to columnist and web host/dealer. He is an very knowledgeable and interesting collector and he very generously spent the afternoon showing us and talking about every pot in his office and gallery.

In 2 days, I will go back to the US for 3 1/2 weeks and see my youngest and oldest boys, do a lot of administration and financing and try to throw and fire lots of pots for future shows and "omiyage" (gift giving) in Japan.

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