Fire Song – Anagama Kiln Exhibit Opening
Anderson Arts Center
110 Federal Street, Anderson, SC
Friday, October 21 (today)
An anagama kiln is perhaps the most labor-intensive and complicated of all the firing methods for ceramics. It requires a dedicated “clay community” to support it. In Anderson County (SC), well-known ceramics artist, Rob Gentry, built an anagama kiln by hand at the historic Boxwood Manor, a Century Farm, in Pendleton, SC.
An anagama kiln is an ancient type of pottery kiln dating back beyond the 5th century. It consists of a firing chamber with a firebox at one end and a flue at the other. In contrast to the electric or gas-fueled kilns commonly used today, the anagama is fueled with firewood.
The kiln must be watched around the clock for approximately 38-40 hours to ensure the temperature is at the proper level. During this time, brilliantly glowing fire flumes rise out of the flue. The burning of the wood, with its crackling and popping noises creates the fire song of the kiln.
The kiln must cool for four to five days before it can be opened and unloaded. The unloading reveals the finished pots and the results are studied by the involved potters so their knowledge base can continue to grow.
The Firesong kiln has developed a dedicated group of potters who volunteer their time to “work” the firings. They must chop and split wood, work four-hour shifts to watch the fire and add wood as necessary, glaze the ceramics, and load and stack the kiln door, and some drive more than 200 miles to be a part of this artistry. Twenty artists will have their work in this unique exhibit.