Saturday, March 31, 2012
A day before the festival of colours, was an important day for our household. On this day, the house is mopped with fresh cowdung with little straw "gober se neepte hain" we make special food; "puaa" and "badi" (am incapacitant to find parallel in english); on a make shift stove. Then in a ceratin way these are offered to the house God, "Kul devta".
Bhola Pandit and family. This family of potters provide all the terracotta ware needs of our household. Whether it is roof tiles "Khapara", water pot "Surahi", storage pot "Hariya" or pot for yogurt/curds "Katahari".
Monday, March 26, 2012
On 24th February, I started from my home in Pondy at 2am. I had my flight from Chennai to Patna via Delhi. From Patna 250kms to my village home, it took 6 hours owing to the state of the roads in some parts. Part of the distance has newly laid fantastic roads. Reached at 9pm.
A two week exhibition at Kala Kendra.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
I received a call from Rathi Zafer asking me if I could help a Korean artist fire his work in Ray 140cft kiln at Golden Bridge Pottery. It was urgent as the exhibition was to open on the 14th.
The kiln was loaded by Wednesday, 25th. Door bricked up as discussed with Jeff. started with gas pre heat at 5pm.
After a small puja, and light a small fire at the back on the chimney floor, Iber started wood on the floor, midnight 26th Jan, Thursday 00:00 hours.
Ranjita, Ange, Indrani, Iber and I started stoking the front fire mouth and got the kiln to cruise smoothly until 900 by midnight. Ange took off and Neil came in at 3am. We had to keep playing tricks for the temperature to keep rising as per schedule. we had to be at 1225 at 0600 hours on 27th Jan.... but we were 1150 and were struggling. there was a good ember built up, cone 6 was down and cone 8 soft in the front. According to Jeff's notes-shovel coals once cone 7 goes down. Good timing. The morning crew arrived and we attempted shoveling embers into the setting. (specified by Jeff, floor level l- r, first shelf l- r, second shelf centre) Partly achieved.
Ray, Ashwini and Neil worked on the kiln, gained temperature in the front, got cone 9 down and followed by stoking the middle firebox.
Post lunch crew continued the same. Shoveled coals twice through the afternoon.
Night crew- Neil, Ranjita, Rashi, Indrani, Iber and I got there.. cone 10 was down in the front. cone 8 down in the middle firebox and cone 1 down in the back stack! Very exciting, we were building up the middle fire box and maintaining the front temperature. by 2030hours the ember built up and cone 9 was down in the middle firebox and so we started stoking the back firebox and continued to maintain temperature, as well as built up embers in the front. We opened air holes in the middle firebox for burn down. by 2330hours we had nice built up of embers in the back firebox and front, so............ shovel!!!! this was a lot of fun. We saw reflection and at some point shadow of the poker on two pots that we pinned our focus on. The glazed Yunomi looked beautiful and one round slipped pot was absolutely matt at this point. I could not read as much as i would like to (i understand it will happen by repeating and seeing results) but at this moment it was only very exciting!!!!
By 0600 hours on 28th Jan, two times built up and burn down in front and middle fire box. one build up and burn down for back fire box, building up the back second time. Shoveled twice through the night. Cone 11 was standing in the front, to our relief. cone 10 bending in the middle firebox and cone 8 down in the back stack. The kiln was roaring. The poker shadow on the slipped pot, informed a good layer of ash deposit on the pot. Hurrah! We might finish firing today! DO NOT WANT TO OVER FIRE! Pulled out draw rings. good ash built up. :) consensus, lets see draw rings mid afternoon and decide when to salt.
Ray had to play a few more tricks to get the back stack to temperature and get cone 9 down. It all worked well, by letting temperature drop a little in the front. Worked!! Shoveled coals once today.
1800 hours on 28th, we decided to salt around 1130ish. continued to build up embers in the middle fire box. Back looked hot. Kept maintaining the heat in the front. by 2100 hours we had 1193deg centigrade in the back and the cone 10 was quarter bent. Perfect time to salt. The firing team came in one by one and we salted the back stack!!!!. We decided not to push in the damper. Neil thinks that in such a case, the salt effects on the side which faces the fire and then the salt escapes through the chimney. We introduced 12 kgs of salt. lets see what we get!
It all looked very nice. at 2330hours, was the last stoke. After 15 minutes, leveled the embers in the front and half buried a tea bowl and a yunomi (made by Jeff), into the embers, and then closed the kiln. This time the damper has been closed properly.
Plans to unload on Thursday, 2nd february. Will try and document as best as possible.
Thanks a ton to all who helped through the firing. Wouldnt have been able to do without it.
Please feel free to add notes of firing, will really appreciate that.
Hope everyone is well!! Cheers.
p.s. I do know that it was the circumstance that we could not fire when Jeff was here, But I really wish we had fired in his presence.
Jeff Shapiro is an eminent Ceramist, who lives and works in Accord, USA. We at Golden Bridge Pottery, had invited him for a workshop, 9 - 21 January 2012.
is an exhibition that is a part of the
JEFF SHAPIRO ANAGAMA WORKSHOP
golden bridge pottery,
Local and international potters are participating in this workshop which is being conducted by internationally acclaimed ceramic artist Jeff Shapiro from upstate New York.
The JEFF SHAPIRO & FRIENDS show at Kala Kendra aims at bringing together a myriad range of ceramic aesthetics showcasing current works and styles of participants.
“The Japanese sensibility of nature is inherently close to the aesthetic of wood firing. The aesthetic that I speak of is one that comes from the ‘imperfections of nature’. It cannot be forced or imitated but rather ‘assisted’ in the way we choose material, forming process and decoration.” .....Jeff Shapiro."
The south india tour was organized by Ashwini Bhat. It is a three day of travel to the several temple towns, the Ayyanar shrine and a village potter.
On the day of unloading, I pulled out my camera and here are some of what I saw. :)
It was a fantastic week, my trip to Gaya Ceramic and Design, in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.