I video taped a little during the sixth firing, imported the tape into my laptop, and then let it languish for the last five months. I’ve been wanting to recover the 15gb of hard drive space it took up, and I was finally bored enough to stay up all night, cut it into little bits, and paste together a four minute clip.
You’ll see the anagama being fed, make a tiny steam tornado, and breathe fire. When the fire is pouring out the chimney, it’s like a river of bright water rushing over rapids. I could watch that almost endlessly.
One part may need a little explaining: about midway through the video, and at about the hottest temperature during the firing, I take out a “pull”. A “pull” is a piece specifically made to be pulled from the kiln so that the amount of glaze build-up can be evaluated. Pulls are crucial because the end of the anagama firing is determined by how well the pieces have developed ash glaze. Temperature is obviously a factor, but cones typically flatten out by the end of the first day of the three to four day wood firing period — where cones really fall down, is that they say nothing about the level of glaze build-up. By loading a few pulls, the glaze level can be checked quite thoroughly.
Without further ado, here are links to the video. Note: quicktime format; both are the same content but the 20mb clip is better quality, though a somewhat hefty download. I’d suggest doing a “save as” on the link as it might take five minutes or so even with a broadband connection.