After the 48-hour firing, we were tired but eager to see our clay pieces. But we had to wait until the kiln cooled down. Opening the kiln too early would be a mistake as the temperature would drop suddenly and may cause the pieces to crack. So we nervously waited, waited and waited until the walls came down…
We unpacked the clay pieces in an orderly manner so that we could analyze the resulting effects later. We took note of the chamber and the shelf where each piece was placed; the clay body; glazes, slips or oxides; and if it was cocooned in saggar pots. All these variables affect the resulting look of the piece.
After weeks of preparation and hard work, all of us were excited to examine each piece brought out from the kiln. A few of our friends (Mr Wong, Yang Pow Sing, Mdm Poh, Ron, Kuo Wei, Kenny and Karen) also joined in the hustle and bustle to see, touch and discuss the rich variations and textures found on the wood-fired pieces.
As potters, we are very fortunate to have access to a dragon kiln. Mr and Mrs Tan and the Tan family are very supportive and generous in allowing us to use the dragon kiln and the workshop facilities. The Tan family members not only are willing to impart their wealth of knowledge and experiences on wood firing but also worked alongside us during the packing and firing. Much of the logistics like acquiring the wood, firing materials and tools, workers, and taking the necessary fire safety precautions were organised by Mrs Tan.
We treasure this privilege and the onus is on us to keep learning and sharing our wood-firing explorations. Our sole objective is to carry on the tradition of wood firing, a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. After all, how many potters have the opportunity to fire their pots in a 60-year-old dragon kiln?
On the whole, the firing was successful with minimal breakages and we had good salting effects in the third, fourth and fifth chambers. Also, the temperature of 1200 degrees Celsius was attained throughout the kiln. However, the ash effects in the first three chambers were not as pronounced as we had hoped. For the next couple of weeks, we will be busy analyzing the wood-ash effects on the clay pieces in detail. For the time being, here are some interesting pieces revealed from the belly of the dragon.
Posted by CLim