Dee, Kim Medeiros and I drove down to South Dartmouth, near New Bedford, Sunday to see the results of Chris Gustin's latest firing. His anagama (plus two smaller attached noborigama chambers) holds about 1,000 pots and is fired to completion over six to seven days. It's a lot of work and takes a lot of stokers over that period of time.
But this kiln, which was rebuilt several years ago, turns out gorgeous pots. Since rebuilding, it has fired evenly front to back in the anagama chamber, something that was a bit of a problem in its earlier incarnation. For this firing, it appeared there were somewhere around 15 potters involved, besides Chris. The kiln cools for two weeks, and always draws a crowd for the opening. This cold November Sunday was no exception. But people were treated to many great pots.
It's always a privilege to see the work of a great clay artist as it emerges from the kiln, seeing it as he or she sees it for the first time. I know it always takes me a few days to get acquainted with my own new pots, so Chris must be still walking around the two big ones shown here on this page, looking at the way the glaze flowed, the way the ash combined with the glaze, the places where the flames took hold.
Anyway, to the photos. Some pretty wonderful pots here.
Top, giant pot out of the kiln, one of the two fired about a shelf back from the firebox; next, the two big ones, as they were exposed in the unloading; note the glaze welding the pot to its shelf; potter Steve Murphy uses a diamond Dremel tool to break the bond between pot and shelf; then Steve and others bring out the first pot; and then the second; Chris, at left, seems pretty happy with the results; a look at one of the noborigama chambers after unbricking the door.