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Firing Techniques Update


The Anagama kiln is the oldest style of kiln in Japan and has been around since medeval times. The beauty of Anagama style firing lies in the natural ash glazes that can be achieved, and in the excitement of the long firing itself, appreciated by many potters all over the world.

There are many different designs for the Anagama kiln, not only in Japan, but on other continents. Not only are there different designs, but also different methods of firing and stacking. No two firings are ever exactly alike, in contrast to let's say, the electric kiln.

The Anagama kiln will usually consist of of one long firing chamber with a firebox at one end and a flue at the other. Often there will also be smaller stacking ports on the side of the kiln. Traditional Ananagama kilns are built on a slope, so that a better updraught can be achieved. Firing time can vary from one day to several weeks.

While Anagama is an ancient Japanese style, contemporary ceramic artists such as Peter Voulkos (USA), Chester Nealie (Australia) or Shiho Kanzaki (Japan) and many other have taken up the art and are continuing the tradition.

Black Firing

Amongst the 'primitive' firing techniques you will find the technique of 'Black Firing'. This method involves heating a primitive gas-brick kiln to about 1000oC and then adding copiuos amounts of sugar, which then volatilise and impregnate the clay with carbon, giving it a matt black surface. Glazes may also be used with this method, which can result in some interesting effects. Check out this black firing glaze and some tips and tricks for a successful black firing.

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