Firing the Oki-doki Anagama in Germantown, NY, July 2017.
I was honored to, once again, be asked to lead the firing of Susan Kotulak's Oki-doki kiln. This is possibly my favorite kiln to fire. From front to back, floor to ceiling; there isn't a bad spot in the kiln. It's easy to fire, the temp climbs in reduction, and when it stalls, a simple tweak of the damper get's it going to where you want. But like any firing, the kiln is only half the story. Susan and her husband Ron Sencer have created such a warm and enjoyable environment. The stoking crew was a great mix of a few of my students making their first trip to fire in America, and the old hands of the Oki-doki. It was a fantastic bunch. During the cooling we had field trips to Stormking; the famous sculpture garden near Newburg NY, and visits to Jeff Shapiro, Peters Valley and Peter Callas. Thank you Sue and Ron!
Kiln Building/Firing workshop. December, 2016
This December master kiln builder John Bradford, from Taos, NM, came over to lead a kiln building/firing workshop. With seven participants, five local and two from the US, we built a small anagama that tied into the back of the chimney on our larger anagama. Over two three-day weekends we managed to build it. We loaded on December 27 and 28th. Lit it that evening and fired it off with cone 12 over at midnight New Years Eve. Shiro christened it 'Little Snapper' based on the shape, a name at which most Japanese cringe. It was a great way to ring in the New Year. Pictures below.
Hank Murrow residency and Fall Firing
This fall we were very fortunate to have Hank Murrow here for a 6-week residency. Hank, an Oregon Potter for over 50 years, has been on the forefront of Shino glazes in North America. He was a joy to have around. He gave demonstrations at our studio here and also at The Canadian Academy for the students and teachers there. Hank is an incredibly generous soul and we were very fortunate to have him here.
I was also blessed with an wonderful assistant for 3 months this fall: Tyler Billman. A student at the University of Chicago, he had taken a semester off to work with us here. For a 21-year old he was wise and capable beyond his age. He was never late, and never complained about any dismal job I asked him to do. He is sorely missed.
While they were here we fired the big kiln and it was one of the best firings we have had. Another young man, Sean Couley was here for the firing. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to be a conduit for the people who love Japan and ceramics.