About our kiln, Woodrow.
The wood-firing process is extremely labour intensive. It challenges your commitment to your work like no other firing technique. You know that every bit of your energy and love has gone into bringing your pots into fruition. I had my first wood-fire experience in 2015 and fell in love immediately. In 2018, we built a manabigama style kiln on our country property. "Mana" means educational or learning; "bi" means thing of beauty and "gama" means kiln, in Japanese.
In the winter of 2019 we lit our kiln for the first time! It's now end of May and we have just wrapped up our second firing. It takes us several weeks (4-6) of production, before we are ready to load our manabigama kiln, which we have affectionately named Woodrow, after the late great American folk singer, Woodrow (Woody) Guthire. It takes us a full day to load our wares into the kiln. This is not a step that is worth rushing. How and where each pot is placed into the kiln will inevitably affect how the kiln fires and will ultimately tell the story of the pot's birth in the kiln. We consider the flame path and how it will travel through the kiln, bringing heat to the back of the chamber and up the chimney. As the flame travels through the kiln it leaves its mark on our pots creating a flashing of oranges, deep reds and browns depending on the clay body we use.
The firing day is long! By the end of our average 20 hour firing we are completely exhausted. The kiln is heated by building our coal bed slowly with kindling, once a deep coal bed is established after several hours we begin stoking with logs in a rhythmic pattern increasing the frequency of stokes as the kiln climbs to the desired temp of 1300 + degrees celsius. We hold this temperature for several hours to ensure even heating and sufficient ash deposit onto our wares throughout the kiln. It's not easy to get the temperature to the back of the kiln as the main heat source comes from the front where the firebox is located. The flame has to travel past 4 stacks of shelves, each stack layered 4-6 shelves high with dense pots. Heat + time is what we need to achieve our desired temperature and surface results. With each firing comes an array of challenges, weather conditions, such as wind strength and direction play a role in how easy or difficult is for us to get the kiln to temperature. Barometric pressure, rain and snow also bring their own batch of difficulties, but that's all part of the allure. It's what keeps us chasing the flame and shooting for the stars!
High-fire Atmospheric Process
Cream & Sugar
Ry's Whiskey Cups
Curated sets of 4