After an uncomfortable day spent crouched in the firebox, I have finally squeezed the last few pots into the kiln, and have started bricking up the wicket. This being the ninth firing of my anagama kiln, one might think that the stacking process would become easier. On the contrary, much head scratching and pondering have been involved in trying to figure out how to make best use of what remains a hugely awkward internal space to fill, not helped by having too many stupidly large platters and tall bottles competing for prime positions. If and when I build another kiln, it will have a simple, uniform section with vertical walls and a sprung arch.
People always struggle to understand how it can take quite so long to pack the kiln. But this is the time in my production cycle when the tension between control and uncertainty feels greatest. Even with all the thought put into choosing which pot to put where -seeking to make the most economical use of space whilst visualising how the flames will flow through the kiln to flash the pot surfaces and deposit fly-ash- and despite the painstaking care put into building each shelf stack and wadding and supporting each individual pot, ready for its transformation from clay to ceramic, there are many variables beyond my control that will determine the outcome.
My current plan is to start firing on 5th October, finishing sometime in the evening of Sunday 7th October. Visitors welcome by arrangement.