anagama pots

after many interruptions I have at last polished up the photos of my pots from the anagama firing and put them up on a web page, here.


I also experimented with some flowers. these naked baked earth pots seem to work better with flowers than glazed pots. it’s problematic getting water to stay in them; even those with no cracks which ought to be well vitrified, like the scored red clay bottle below, allow water to seep out. a plastic bag works best, filled after insertion.


this is the terracotta crank, pure and simple, fired at the back of the kiln, which would have been cooler. I must ask Valentines what the grog in the crank is made of. if it is fireclay, it must increase the possible firing temperature quite a bit. you can’t see the true colour clearly in the photograph, in fact it varies between a greenish cast and a purple one which has a sheen to it. I will definitely get some more of this clay, both to use on its own, and to mix with stoneware clays, probably one of the buff cranks, to get a better iron-rich dark clay body. I won’t get these wonderful dark colours in my kiln though.


at the back of the kiln, away from the bulk of the ash and heat, the pots are quite bare, but really cooked. the porcelain has taken on the colour of old ivory, and the iron-bearing clay has turned dark purple, or very dark khaki, with that slight shine, and some more protected parts have stayed rust coloured. nearer the front of the kiln there is more ash deposit, which has stayed solid and dry, mostly. but this pot has shine and rough ash/ember, and some good colour as well.


the other side of it is well covered a in a dry haze of ash, but there is still that purple colour.


Shozo and Gas picked this tall narrow pot as something really special; they liked the clouded effect of the porcelain overlay, and it has picked up the colours of ash, flame and reduction in a subtle way. because porcelain fires translucent, the uneven thickness of the overlay makes it cloudy. another random painterly thing that clay can do.


this bottle was one of those right next to the firemouth. I suspect the temperature was lower there, under all the ember, but this pot has wonderful scorch marks on it. all in all, I think Gas’s medieval Japanese kiln firing does suit my pots, unlike the usual western anagama firing which involves a lot more ash on the pots, so that they really are glazed, or even the pots being glazed before they go into the firing.


frustratingly I won’t get a chance to fire my work like this again for some time. ten days is a big chunk of time, and then there is the recovery time, as well! my knees are not getting any younger. and of course I am dependent on someone else’s firing expertise and willingness to allow me to participate in the firing and take up space in the kiln. I am very grateful to Gas for the chance to do this, and to all the other co-stokers who helped fire the kiln.



  1. waouh ! the one I prefer is the 4th one !! but they are all different with nuances of grey and black and a little cream-white texture for some of them ! this firing fits with your way of working the clay , it gives something different and “compl√©mentaire “.

  2. Hi Jane,

    We met at the weekend woodfiring and it’s very interesting to see your results as I wasn’t able to get to the kiln opening. I saw some of your work in Holt later in the summer. (I think actually that WAS the summer on the woodfiring weekend wasn’t it?). Also thanks so much for your wonderful blog diary of the firing cycle it’s such a useful resource. Hope all is going well for you.

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