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we unpacked the kiln yesterday afternoon. it rained while we were doing it, so there wasn’t so much light and I had the wrong camera with me for low light conditions. Linda and Erwin came, Vivienne Rodwell-Davies, who made pages and pages of beautiful ink and wash drawings of the event at the weekend, Vicki and her parents, Ko and his Japanese potter friend, Shozo Michikawa, and a few others whose names I am really sorry but I don’t remember.

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it was a very Japanese event, as Gas, Ko, and Shozo clustered around the kiln mouth, taking out the pots and discussing them animatedly, handing them to us ignorant mortals to clean up and pass around. it was very exciting. the first ones were those which had been immersed in ash and ember, so they were still covered in ash. Linda scrubbed them in water, but I kept two of mine back, as I wanted to photograph them in that state before they were cleaned.

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we put most of them on the blue staging which we used to work out the pack, trying to keep to where they were in the kiln. but then they overflowed onto various perches around the place. Svend’s big pot appeared to be fine, but turned out to have three or four major cracks in the lower part. it was nearly as dramatic to remove it as to put it in the kiln. it looks very beautiful anyway.

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this is Shozo talking to Gas. he is very intense. I would have liked to talk to him more, his work is very interesting, and he has done a residency in Northumberland and had a one man show at the Galerie Besson, apart from numerous exhibitions and workshops internationally. I hope to put a link to his website here.

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here are a couple of my pots, photographed au naturel.

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I was very happy with the result. there is a little shine from the ash, but not much, and it just livens the pots up a little. otherwise they are too dry, I was informed by my Japanese friends. the porcelain applied to the pots works really well like this, as there is no glaze covering it. the clays I use fire well in an anagama, as they have some iron in them and the more iron, the more colour. anyway, I shall discuss this when I have been able to photograph the pots and make a web page. Gas’s pot which was in front of Svend’s is very beautiful. I hope to get hold of a photo of that too. Vicki had some good results. John Butler had two bottles I saw which looked very special, and Lisa Hammond some great tall vases/jars. I don’t think it was so successful for her teabowls.

before we opened the kiln we went to Hatfield Art in Clay ceramic fair. it is huge and most of the work was not to my taste. it was nice to see some old friends, like Nic Collins, and new friends, Linda and Erwin. there are five or six big marquees of fifty potters each, and some solo tents in the middle. I found Akiko Hirai again – I bought two of her plates at Rufford two years ago, and I bought two more this time. I find her work very feminine and charming. and I bought a small bowl from Svend, quite a deep enclosing shape, in temoku ( a thick flowing black glaze with brown edges), with three little shell scars in the bottom. I also found a very good book on African ceramics, For Hearth and Altar: African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection by Kathleen Bickford Berzock. there are some wonderful pieces in it, which I hope to be inspired by.

a long day with a lot of driving, I left for home at seven forty-five, the car full of boxes of pots, just as Lisa Hammond arrived with Lukas, her student assistant and Nic Collins; I got home at ten twenty.