What can a traditional Anagama kiln do?
The clay objects are put in the kiln without a glaze – the colours are created by the firing process itself, as the pieces are directly exposed to flames, smoke, glowing coal and ash, which flies through the kiln and settles as fine dust all over the objects. This dust combines with the clay and melts into a glaze.
At what temperature does this process take place?
Above 1,300°C. Then, the colour of the naturally produced fly-ash glaze will vary from a matt ochre haze to transparent, deep green or even blue, depending on where the object is positioned in the kiln. The whole process takes four days and nights, with new wood added every three minutes.
© Götz Wrage
So you can't sleep during the process?
A friend and I take it in turns to care for the fire during those four important days once a year, usually in late autumn. We burn around 20m3 of pine wood during the process. I spend seven months a year preparing the firing process: four weeks splitting wood, four weeks kneading the clay, eight weeks on the wheel…
What else forms part of your annual routine?
During the summer months, selling objects and guiding guests and customers through my gallery and workshop in Cismar takes centre stage. And of course, whenever there are exhibitions of my work throughout the globe I try to be there in person.