Controlled Reduced Cooling 3

SideStoke home    Article pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

This is the firing schedule used to refire the anagama pot shown in images on the previous page. From trial and error, over more than 30 test firings, I had decided that this schedule gave the best results, on the whole, for refiring salt or shino pots. The four hour cooling period, in oxidation,  between 900 and 800 originated in  "extended bisque" firings, in which I refired shino glazed pots,  to good effect. The reducing agent used during cooling was the moist, fleshy leaves and stems of decorative ginger plants, Hedychium coronarium, which is native to the Himalayas.

Remember that the refired pot, the one the cones leaned against,  was produced during the period when we were trying to decide which woods we wanted to use. We settled on two readily available woods, and removed the dividing wall from the kiln. The images at right show the most undesirable results from the two wood types. The brown of the pot on the left originates from Forest Red Gum, and the unrelieved grey of the pot on the right is due to the wrong thickness of Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) natural ash  glaze. Before applying the firing schedule from the small gas refire kiln to the cooling of the anagama we wanted to try to predict what would happen. We wanted both of these undesirable effects to be diminished.

To next page

SideStoke home    Article pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Usually we like to evaluate pots by looking at the pots, not by applying some extraneous rule, or any rule at all. Direct perception, without further thought,  is an impossible goal, but the phrase expresses our preferred, non-intellectual approach. Our sources of enthusiasm are almost always ceramic, and not related to our surroundings, but the influence of our unusual landscape must be acknowledged. We live in tropical rainforest, and one of the hillsides on our property is shown at left. Notice the amount of black in this scene, where rainforest trees fight to reach the light. Couple this landscape with my enduring enthusiasm for  photography, which goes back as far as the black and white landscapes of Ansel Adams, and the desire to encourage black on the pots is explicable.