We are fortunate to have a generous and creative community of potters in Portland. In March, a friend of mine, Richard Brandt, has invited us to see the loading, firing, and unloading of an Anagama wood fire kiln of the class he is teaching at Mt. Hood Community College. It is a marvelous opportunity to witness an actual firing to get
a sense of the hard work, materials and the community of people that it takes
to fire a kiln such as this. Then we also have an opportunity to come back to experience the excitement, surprises and raw beauty of the opening of the kiln.
It takes 3 days to load the kiln, seeing the way each piece looks before the firing and to get a sense of the transformation that each piece goes through. You’ll also see the delicate considered placement of each object as they are fit closely together to direct the flame tumbling through the stacks of ware. There will be 100s of pieces of all shapes and sizes waiting to be loaded for their chance with the wood and flame.
The firing will take place over 5 days, 24 hours a day and night. Monitoring the fire and temperature dictates the amount of wood and timing of feeding the fire. When the kiln is fired all of the senses and communication between the firing crew members are very important.
The kiln is then allowed to cool down for about 6 days and then the seal will be cracked. It takes about an hour to take down the door and clean out the ashes before the first pieces can be taken out. Everyone lines up to pass each piece from hand to hand to reveal the magic of the fire. It is awesome to experience the excitement, surprises and raw beauty of the opening of the kiln.
If you would like to participate in this experience, please contact me for dates, times and address. Don’t miss this experience.
Thank you again to Richard for this wonderful opportunity to see a wood fire kiln in action.