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Firing Log

ancient kiln | 21st century logbook

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January 18, 2009

Wow — Time Flies

Filed under: anagama, 11th,Firing — odin @ 6:02 pm

So it’s been almost exactly a year since my last post.  In that time, I fired the kiln again.  I took many pictures of the pieces with elaborate lighting.  I hated all the pictures.  It seems so easy to get something about 80% good.  Then I start going into perfectionist mode and want it to be better, fail, become despondent, and actually accomplish nothing at all.

C’est la vie.

The tenth firing came out very nice and many of the pieces were interesting — I made some wall pieces and sprinkled on ash, feldspar and sand, and got some likeable results.  No pictures though, and I really don’t think I’m going to go back and do anything about that at this point.  The whole photography issue became a roadblock and rather than overcome it, I’m just going around.

At 1:05 am this morning, I lit the gas burner on the 11th firting.  Most of the pieces are handbuilt and I’m again trying out some ideas for wall pieces.  I have great firewood, and I’m feeling pretty good about this firing.

By the same token, it is getting harder and harder to load the kiln.  My body won’t bend itself into the same scrunched up shapes it used to go into.  It took three days to load this time — I’m getting slower and slower.  I really must build one of Steve Harrison’s long throat kilns, which sound similar to the “Broken Leg Kiln” that Furutani built (differences being that Harrison uses a Boury Box, and Furutani just used a simple ash-pit-free anagama style fire space).

Anyway, here’s a shot of the preheating kiln from earlier this morning (click the picture to enlarge).

anagama-west kiln preheating for the 11th firing

February 3, 2008

Podcast: Gritty Davie Reneau

Filed under: Potters,sound & video — odin @ 8:14 pm

We’ve heard from a number of men in the Firing Log podcast series — we’re overdue for a woman’s perspective. Davie Reneau of Kentucky provides just that perspective, or at least that of a woman who loves hard physical work and the imprint it leaves on ceramic forms. Download the episode directly or through iTunes (mp3, 53:42, 49.2 mb).

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.

In her Artist’s Statement, Davie explains how the farmland of Kentucky is imbued with a female character — it is a softly curving, undulating environment that has influenced her ceramic forms. When looking at the forms she creates though, it is clear that a term such as “womanly” does not infer only a life of ease. Quite the contrary, Davie’s youthful experiences with farm labor and her life as a wood-firing potter have instilled in her a respect for hard work, something which shows through in the pieces she creates.

Wood Fired Tea Pot by Davie Reneau
Davie Reneau’s Photogallery.

For example, this teapot’s full and curvaceous form is accented with patterns evoking patchwork fields at sunset, the evening colors imparted by wood-flames. It is without doubt, a comforting shape bringing to mind pastoral images of farm life — perhaps resting in a comfortable chair as evening hues fire the sky. I think though, that there is more to it and that nostalgia is but half the picture. The subtle part, that the end of the day comes with worn out muscles and tired bones, is still there to be sensed. This teapot is soft on casual inspection, but underneath is to be discovered a fundamental strength supporting the comfortable surface.

In her other works, Davie finds ways to evoke a sense of generosity with a subcurrent of a harder existence, complete with the cuts, scrapes, bruises and burns familiar only to those who really know what work means. She doesn’t club one over the head though — her efforts appear effortless, leaving just a trace left for those who will look deeper. Davie revels in hard work, and I doubt she would have it any other way. Difficult as it may be to toil under the hot sun or in front of a blazing firemouth, when the job is done there is a sense of accomplishment that cannot otherwise be obtained, and evening is all the more comfortable for the hardships of the day.

Pages: Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ...24 25 26 Next
Pages: Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ...24 25 26 Next

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