Report of firing an Anagama
Ana=cave; Gama=kiln
The kiln

Woodfired kiln with one main firing and one additional firing.

The Anagama
Placing the pottery into the kiln.

the pots are built into a system of shelves, made out of refractory stones and plates. Each pot will be placed - standing or lying - upon a so called “Bömsel" (beads of clay mainly consisting of calcinated clay) or sea shells.
If the kiln is filled up it will be walled up.
The firing

It starts with a small fire that is carefully feeded, so that the temperature of the kiln rises evenly and very slowly. It would fill a whole book to describe this complete procedure and the tasks behind it.
The firing

The most important component is the wood, either dry pine or fir wood in different sizes from roughly one to seven centimetres in diameter. The duration of the fire varies from four to six days, with a total use of wood from up to 30 cubic metres, while the wood has to be placed 24 hours.

The firing is documented in writing.

day1….rain, cool
day2....clear, cool
day3...steady, slider 1/3 open
day5...rain, clowded
day6...consisting temperature
Clearing the kiln

Depending on the weather the kiln can be cooled down enough to be opened after one or two weeks. This is the moment of truths as it shows the real results of the process: success or failure.

The pot

There is no separation between the fireplace and the pots in the Anagama. The fly-ash flies through the kiln with the flames. It falls on the pots and accumulates there, which is intensified by the longer firingprocess.
Together the ash and the clay produce a glaze. The amount of ashes as well as the atmosphere (high or less reduction of oxygen) varies in different parts of the kiln.
The location of the pot in the kiln determines its colour, the thickness of the glaze, the intensity of the traces by flames, colour effects and crystals.

Text und Bild:
Steffen Gneithing
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burning an Anagama