Oxford Anagama

June 2022

Look into the flames... there is nothing quite like it. Wood firing pottery is pure alchemy. 
I was invited to be part of a small team firing the little anagama kiln at Oxford University. 
From the start it was completely captivating. 

The first day I arraived, the back stack had already been loaded. I prepared my pots. Glazing with my own recipe glazes using ochre, shale and a local clay. I also had a glaze made with calcined clam shells. There were also a shino glaze I shared.
Once glazed, I added wadding balls. These are a blend of fire clay and sawdust, and stop the pots sticking to the kiln shelf. 

I camped onsite in my little van. 

The following morning we finished loading the kiln. I had to crawl inside the chambre to stack pots. 

Satruday morning the first kindling was lit and so it began. For the first four hours we four worked together, watching the fire, stoking it. Meanwhile I chopped logs - because you need a lot of wood to fire the kiln. Small bits and big bits. We had Ash logs that came from felled trees on the university site. There were also Oak logs (they came later). 
At around lunchtime we began shifts, taking it in turns to tend to the kiln.