Recently I took part in a wood firing at Kigbeare in Devon. The firing took five days and involved seven potters. We each took 4 hour shifts, with 8 hours off in between. I did shifts with Deborah Mitchell who had fired the kiln before. First we stoked from the front of the kiln and later from the sides. Unusually, the anagama kiln designed and built by Svend Bayer has five sets of side-stoking ports, one on each side between each stack of pots, so that it’s easier to get the back of the kiln up to temperature. We used oak, ash and pine wood cleared from the nearby golf course and started reduction by closing the damper at 800 C, maintaining reduction all the way up to the top temperature around 1280 C when cone 12 stared to bend.
My celadon glazed porcelain pieces were on two shelves in the middle of the stack near the back of the anagama. One of my vases was placed on its side resting on cockle shells. The other pieces were placed on balls of wadding made from china clay mixed with alumina so that the melted wood ash from the firing would not stick them to the kiln shelf. I shared the stack with Poplini and Jezando and Jessica Mason. The pots at the back of the kiln are by Charlie Collier.
Rebecca Proctor side stoking the anagama. The flames coming out at the top show there is good reduction.
My porcelain pots unloaded from the kiln with some of Jessica Mason’s pots on the far left. Mine are glazed with celadon and satin matt white. The good reduction throughout the firing caused the celadon to come out a lovely pale blue. Some of the pots stuck to the wadding but I managed to grind them off. There were hints of orange flashing on the bases of pots where the soluble salts carried by the flames reacted with the clay body. It was a very successful firing for all the potters.