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why electric is not woodfire ; was: red/temmoku

updated sun 2 jan 05


Lee Love on sat 1 jan 05

mel jacobson wrote:

> potters did not know exist emerge. (don't throw
> away your electric may become the most favored
> method of firing in the next decade...


> remember, the wonderful ming
> celedons were fired in wood fired kilns. they sure
> did not want runny ash. clarity...clean design, clear
> glazes. (iron/celedon)

I've mentioned many times here, that traditionally, the
woodfire kilns in Japan did not fire in reduction (at least not in the
kinds of reduction we use in gas and oil kilns.) The Mino glazes
like Oribe are an excellent example.

But, oxidation in a woodkiln is not the same as in an
electric kiln or even like what you are trying to do in the gas kiln.
I believe Shinos are another example of this type of firing and Hank's
cool down experiments with shino seems to support this.

In a wood kiln, on every stoke you cycle through: reduction
in the beginning, neutral in the middle and oxidation at the end.
This produces a richness in the glazes that is not approached in gas (on
typical firing cycles) and is impossible in electric (of you can't
get a true celadon in electric, unless you also burn some fuel to cause

The tests of Koon's glazes are very interesting and I will be
interested in testing some in the woodkiln when they are published.
But in the photos, the glazes seem somewhat stark. I am guessing
they would improve if they were fired in a woodkiln. I fire most
of my kiln from neutral to oxidation. If I reduce too much, I
loose color and the bare clay gets too dark.

Look at these Hamada pots that were fired in oxidation in a
woodkiln. The blue comes from an Amakusa nami jiro glaze being put
over ocher slip:

If you'd like to see all 77 matchawan, drop me an email.

Lee in Mashiko, Japan WEB LOG Photos!