Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I think I should have saved that “This Is My Busy Day “ post for the past two days. The week started by firing a bisque and topping off my glazes on Monday, as well as packing up a pot to ship. On Tuesday I unloaded the kiln, cleaned and prepped all the biqued pots, clear glazed the insides of the foot rings, waxed them all off and set about glazing. This firing is a group of donburi bowls, altered lip bowls, wall bowls, teabowls (of course), a group of cap jars, two large inset lid jars and some basket forms. Today, I finished glazing all the pots, cleaned them all off and loaded the kiln. In the midst of this, I also packed up two more recent orders that will go to the post soon.

Despite the task at hand and the loud music in the background, it is hard to focus on glazing and kiln loading. As I work, my mind drifts to the number of Japanese potters, especially in and around Mashiko, that have lost not only their gas and wood kilns, but their homes as well. Though I know how resilient potters are and can be, I can not help but think about the loss and all of the energy (and expense) that will have to go into rebuilding their kilns, studios and places for family and students. I am humbled by their ability to cope and write about their ordeals in what seems like a stubborn cavalier outlook. I suspect they are just counting down to when they well be potting again in the very near future.

I am just always struck that despite the fact I have done this numerous times before, each glazing is just anything but routine. That is the real surprise. At this point of my potting life, you would think this would just happen exactly like every cycle before, but that never happens. Quite possibly this is a really good thing. Keeps me on my toes and ready to adapt to varying forms, numbers of pots and how they will all fit into the kiln, not to mention where they should fit in the kiln. Like most kilns, the top is maybe 20 degrees hotter than the bottom and this does have its impact on the glazes.

The kiln is now all loaded and ready to go. I will fire it off tomorrow and by early evening it will be in the hands of the “kiln gods”. I can only hope that I have played my part to the best of my ability and let the unseen variables do their best to make for another good firing…………….

“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.” James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937)