Monday, June 29, 2009

Kiln Building Update 6/29

We don't have much progress of our kiln since last post because Takuro has been having cold and also we had business trip to Penland. But, I would like to change title from "Kiln Foundation" to "Kiln Building". We almost finish making foundation so far (there are more foundation work later on), and now we move on thinking of exit flue part very carefully.
It's said that the total size of exit flue space and the size of chimney has to be same (or similar), or side holes of exit flue had better bigger than the middle hole, or many many theories about this in East and West, and it always makes us unclear sometimes. But you never know the answer until you do fire the kiln. Imagination and intuition are the key. While Takuro takes care of himself, all we can do is just see and think.

But he never stop working.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oak tree fall down

It's off topic, but I want to write about this in order to remember for myself. This afternoon, my son just went to nap and I was washing dishes in the kitchen, I heard funny noise and looked up the kitchen window, then I saw the oak tree moved and laid down on the ground with huge noise. I couldn't believe what I saw.Although that oak tree had disease and looked bad shape, but who knows when it fell down today. It's huge tree and we usually walk under that tree because it's shady. I feel we were very lucky, no injured, no damage, it's just the tree passed away suddenly. Very sad.

Kiln Foundation Update 6/24

Just quick update, we are working on the third chamber foundation now.



and Work!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kiln Foundation Update 6/21

We had work on this Saturday afternoon at STARworks Ceramics, so we were able to work on Saturday morning and all Sunday this weekend. It was really hot even under the shed, and also we got a lot of bugs bite. Yuck. We worked on the floor foundation for the second chamber as well. It's long way to go.

This small guy really wanted to do same thing as his father.



People around us are now very exited about summer vacation, someone take a week and go to beach, someone go to visit family for several weeks, stuff like that.

When we were laying heavy bricks, it was about 2pm which was the hottest time and we were so sweat and tired (and our son was taking nap), to keep up working, I asked Takuro a question "what would you do if you have a week off?". He was thinking, no answer, then asked me back same question, and I said "I would do finish this crazy work as much as possible", and he said "I was going to say exactly like that". I was very disappointed about our conversation. What a boring people we are.

This sand is all mine!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kiln Foundation Update 6/19

After rain and rain and rain, it's back to hot and humid summer days again. Takuro keeps working on kiln foundation every morning and he made progress day by day. Now we are working on exit flue foundation and second chamber foundation areas.



Because we have work in this weekend and next weekend, it's not going to get much work done for a while, but foundation is the most important part of the kiln so that it's good to do it slow. We'll see.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kiln Foundation Update 6/14

We continued and worked done of the second chamber foundation, and also worked on exit flue part of Anagama chamber on Sunday. This is the most important part of kiln building and we were very careful of level and space in between. Even several millimeter would make huge difference for wood firing later on.
This photo above is second chamber foundation, and floor bricks will be placed on this.

We are lucky to be able to rent a saw to cut those huge bricks. It works very well and we could make just size bricks in to the narrow spot.
Our son went to our friend, Sukoshi-san's house in the afternoon and stayed there for three hours without his parents! He didn't cry and played a lot as she said. It's amazing. I was so afraid he might have got upset, fussy, and cry... but he was OK. HAHAHA. In the mean time, we could concentrate on kiln foundation and had a lot of progress today. When he came home, he wanted to ride on mower and drove it (just drive slowly, no mowing) for a while.
Very good job!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kiln Foundation Update 6/13

It was very hot and humid day today, but we can't miss weekend for kiln building work. Takuro went to Northern tool last night and got concrete mixer, and he got up at 5:30am and did assemble it until 9am....there were hundreds of entire parts in the box! Anyway, now we hove got big helper for making mortal.When our son was taking nap in the afternoon, we worked on making support in front of the fire box area. Dig and put cinder bricks, pour mortal and bury by gravel. It's going to be several layers eventually. When we will start to the Anagama wall part, these cinder brick wall will support all weight from Anagama wall (because it's along with the slope) and they should release pressure into the ground, we hope.Wayne Shiver who is our very good friend and lives on Hyw 42, Southern part of Asheboro and his wife Lydia came to help us this evening. Wayne-san is always kind to us and offerd to help us. We put more gravel in front of fire box, and made mortal and laid several bricks on the second chamber foundation. Thank you so much for your help!Takuro said "Now I feel like finally building kiln, not drop my head and just watch ground all the time". But I am sure we will be tired of stucking bricks sooner, lots of lots of bricks to be kiln wall no doubt.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kiln Foundation Update 6/11

Takuro gets up around 5 or 6am, finds glass, feeds cats, and changes clothes, then goes to kiln site and works on kiln foundation for a couple of hours before he goes to work, that's his routine recently.

It's better to do in the early morning because too hot to work evening time and also our son is waiting for riding mowing machine every evening with his father (actually this one and a half year old child thinks it's his job). This morning, we three worked on kiln together.We are ready for laying floor bricks on these foundation. Do it a little by little everyday.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Kiln Foundation Update 6/7

We had the only Sunday afternoon for working on the kiln foundation this weekend, but we had good improvement.
We are very tired and going home.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Big Surprising Day

We are usually very tired on Monday because of working weekend recently, but today is the most surprising day for us. Our wonderful neighbour, Ben Owen suddenly came to our house by skid steer (not by car!) in this afternoon and helped our kiln work.Firstly, he moved soil away to the side and made grand flat. Secondly he moved about 8 pallets of heavy bricks next to the kiln. Lastly he scooped gravel by skid steer shovel and dump in to the kiln foundation. It's about one hour or something, and we know he is the busiest potter in Seagrove so that his time is very preciouse for his own business, but this is worth more than several weeks of kiln building work for us. We just couldn't say anything other than "Sugoi (It's Great! in Japanese)"

Now the photo below showes it's ready to laying more bricks. Yes, it is. It's huge progress for us and Ben made our day. We can't thank you enough. What we need to do is just build good kiln with hard work.
And, Monday is not always bad day.

Anagama Master, Michio Furutani

Michio Furutani, Photo from "Shigaraki Book", Act Publishing, Kyoto, Japan

Furutani who was a well-known Shigaraki potter and also Anagama kiln master published "Anagama Book (Riko Gakusha, 1994)" and it tells how he built his Anagama more than 30 times. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2000 and still he is loved by many fans and people, and also his book still leads us to Anagama world. We read this book many many times and it's getting worn, but it's always with us.

I met Mr. Furutani sometimes in Shigaraki about 10 years ago when I lived there, and I was able to talk to him for several times. He was very nice, kind, and very cute (I am not sure if this word is appropriate, though). He told me he was really tired he got many claims from people who bought his book and asked him that book didn't have exact sizing info at all. He was laughing and said "I don't want people will copy and build exact same as my Anagama, then they will start to complain about their firing results and blame me".

Furutani's work, Anagama fired, Unglazed
Photo from "Shigaraki Book", Act Publishing, Kyoto, Japan

What we most respect Mr. Furutani's work is everything was made by his own experiment and hardwork. He was born in Shigaraki and he must have had a lot of pressure, stereotype, too much influence, etc, but he just looked for what he believed without those kind of noises.

e-yakimono net by Robert Yellin has an article about Michio Furutani to the below.