Download the Eighth Firing Podcast directly or through iTunes (mp3, 56:45, 42mb).
Note: The iTunes link requires iTunes to be installed on your computer. If you do not have iTunes, use the “direct “link — it is probably most convenient to right click the link, choose “save as” from the context menu, and then listen to the file in your preferred player after it has downloaded.
I wrapped up my eighth anagama firing in the early hours of Dec. 23rd. The kiln is still sealed and I am (im)patiently waiting for Saturday to open it up. During the firing, I made some recordings of what I was doing or thinking. The purpose was twofold: 1) In the future, I will be able to listen to all my wrong thoughts — perhaps with a sense of nostalgia. 2) I knew that post-firing, I would need some kind of project to help me keep my grubby mitts off the kiln door. So far, the editing task has worked quite well, although I also built a light tent in the meantime for taking better pictures of pottery.
Some basic data points: I lit the gas burner around 9:00 pm on Dec. 17, started with the wood about 24 hours later, stopped firing about 10:30 pm on Dec. 22, and had the kiln sealed up by 1:50 am on Dec. 23. The kiln consumed about 3.5 cords of wood during the firing. From 5:00 am, Dec. 18 through 2:00 am, Dec 23, I slept 18 out of 117 hours.
I took only a few pictures during the firing, but they can be viewed in the photo album for the eighth firing. As for the pieces — I hope to open the kiln on Saturday. Till then, I’ll spend the time worrying and second guessing.
Download the podcast directly or through iTunes (mp3, 59:39, 41 mb).
Fred Herbst is a ceramics professor at Corning Community College in upstate New York. Interestingly, google satellite data for Corning is quite good although the kiln had not yet been built in this shot: aerial view of Fred’s anagama site. Check out Fred’s online gallery for a closer view.
Fred Herbst and daughter Emma.
During our discussion, we spoke about Fred’s anagama and one of the more unusual ways in which an anagama may be used: as a furnace for glass blowing. We then move into his experiences with reduction cooling experiments and how this technique benefits iron rich stonewares, but how a more oxidizing atmosphere tends to favor porcelain and white stoneware.
In the photo gallery accompanying this podcast, you will find pictures of Fred’s kiln, its construction, firing, and examples of the finished work. Fred has also graciously provided a set of clay and glaze recipes. Pay particular note to Fred’s Porcelaineous which fires beautifully — much like a Shigaraki clay.
If you wish to fire with Fred, you’re in luck. He is hosting a summer workshop, July 10-16, 2007, with Jody Johnstone. The cost is $200 and if you are interested, contact Fred (email below). If you can’t make the firing but find you are interested in having a piece fired in Fred’s anagama, contact him directly: herbstNO@JUNKcorning-cc.edu (remove “NO” and “JUNK” for correct email).
Last, some links related to topics brought up in our discussion: