Sunday, August 30, 2009

The first bowl with David Stuempfle

We visited David Stuempfle's studio this weekend because he is loading his large wood kiln now. He is going to start firing from Tuesday and it'll be end probably Sunday or Monday or so. Takuro and I always take part in his firing. David's wood kiln is probably the biggest one in Seagrove, or maybe nation wide in US, and it looks like just tunnel and it can hold so many pots inside.
the back side of kiln
Tim Ayers in the fire box (front side of kiln)

David came to Shigaraki in 1998 as a residency artist at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park (SCCP) with his partner, Nancy Gottovi. We met them at SCCP briefly at that time. When we stayed at the Cub Creek Foundation for the Ceramic Arts (Appomattox, VA) in 2003, we came down to Seagrove and stayed their house and studio for a week. We were very surprised there was such a big pottery community in US. In this way, we have been knowing David.

David Stuempfle with his large jar (2005)
David's wood firing (2003)

Anyway he and his assistant, Tim Ayers are loading kiln from Saturday. Today (Sunday), it seemed like more than a half way done except large jar which is still sitting in the studio and it needs four people to move and load in the kiln. Our son really loves his studio and kiln site. This evening, he and David made a small bowl together and it's his first pot in his one-and-eight -months life, and I was amazed he already knew how to do it even we never ever taught him.I always tell people I don't want him to be a potter at all because potter's life is not easy. He enjoys playing at STARworks with equipments and tools everyday, so that people said he would be an engineer (I hoped so), but he might be interested in ceramics in the near future. Oh, no.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shigaraki Potter, Kiyotsugu Sawa

Mr. Kiyotsugu Sawa

When I was organizing way-too-many photos, I found many interesting photos in my computer hard disc, and I thought I should share some of them with people in English. Our favorite potter, Kiyotsugu Sawa is a well known Anagama potter in Shigaraki, Japan. He makes beautiful unglazed pots and fires by his very simple Anagama. His Anagama is buried in the ground.

We could see his wood firing and kiln unloading in 2005, it was just before coming to NC. Those photos are from his kiln unloading. See his nice, simple and wild Anagama, and his beautiful pots.

Just one hole for exit flue inside his Anagama

Those were taken from his studio. The cylinders under the pots are used to be kiln furniture from old Noborigama, at least 100 years ago or so. Sawa family is one of the oldest pottery families in Shigaraki and made tons of pots through the history.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kiln Building Update 8/27

Our wonderful neighbour, Ben Owen came to help for our kiln this morning by skid steer. He moved away bricks and then moved soil into the space around the kiln. Now kiln is buried and got more stable. Ben is one of the busiest potter in Seagrove, and we really appreciate he made time for us.We will ask Tony Luck and his team to build extension shed soon. And then start building the second and third chambers. There are lots of things to do.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Making pots

We stopped working on kiln building in these days and started making pots in our studio. It's been long time since no productive work (I mean making pots), so we are refreshing by doing this.
Our wood kiln is still standing, and last weekend we finished concrete brick wall in front of Anagama chamber. Our kiln will be ready for buried in the ground, then put extension shed. The second and third chambers and chimney will be after that. In the meantime, just make lots of pots.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kiln Building Update 8/13

When Takuro came back from work yesterday, he said " I am going to take down wooden frame tonight". I said "You are kidding? It's too late", but at that time Santiago was already on the way to our house to help it. What an arrangement was it! They started around 6:30pm, and it was really scary to watch them, but they kept breaking up wood frames and finally all taken down at 9pm. Great job.

These are photos how our Anagama looks like. We still have lots of things to do, though. We and our Dream Team worked on this project a little by little, bricks by bricks, and we think it was right way to build this Anagama.

Be careful!

Thank you for watching this blog and giving us kind comments. You made us cheer up and motivated. I probably will not update often (like recent updates) unless we get some progress, but hope you can check it out sometimes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kiln Building Update 8/11

Today was the day. We start working on Anagama chamber after work, and we got our "Deam Team" tonight. We closed up arch and finished up Anagama chamber at 11pm!

Thank you very very much for your great help.
Jeff Dean
Tony Luck

Santiago, Kacy and Bear

Stephanie Martin
We couldn't have done without you all.More photos later.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kiln Building Update 8/10

Takuro started working on kiln from 6am. When I went there around 8am, he finished one layer already. Our good friend, Jeff Dean (Dean and Martin Pottery) came to help us and it made work faster. His wife, Stephanie came to watch our son, so I was able to laying bricks whole afternoon. Thank you, Jeff and Stephanie. It's huge help.

We tried to work harder and harder in this awful heat, but as a result, we couldn't finish arch today unfortunately. We had to leave several more layers... but it was our best. We will try to get work done as soon as possible.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Kiln Building Update 8/9

Our good friends, Wayne-san and San-chan came to help us today. Kacy also came to watch our son, so four of us worked on putting bricks. It was very fast. Thank you for your help in this heat (99F!). Today's big progress is we put arch on the door area. It's really important part of the kiln. So we are very pleased to finish it.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Kiln Building Update 8/8

Just quick update. We switched to skinnier bricks for arch part. It will make nice curve much easier. But it seems like there are still a lot of layers to go. Well, it's been really hot even under the kiln shed, so we just do best brick by brick, little by little.Takuro said "this is cool view, take a look" and I took photo from the top of the Anagama chamber. Nice view!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Kiln Building Update 8/7

Same thing as yesterday. Finished one more layer today. Very tired. We also got some castable cement for some arch part. Back side is getting tight and close to the arch. It's difficult to follow the wooded form because brick is too big for the curve.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Kiln Building Update 8/6

We took day off from Thursday and we are trying to get work done as much as possible this weekend. Thank you, Adam. This layer took 4 days to work done... Unbelievable.