There is an expression/thing to do after attempting something called ‘Hansei’ in Japanese. Hansei is reflecting/searching yourself after any attempted endeavor to figure out what you can do better in the future. Hanseikai generally refers to people getting together to discuss what went right or wrong in any particular endeavor.
There was plenty of grist for the mill at the hanseikai for this last firing. Loading, firing, stoking, pot forms, glaze defects, etc… gave me a lot to think about for the next firing. The biggest problem was in not quite getting to temperature in many parts of the kiln. The frustrating part is knowing that it wasn’t for lack of wood, any problems with the kiln, etc… but simply my anxiety about overfiring the load that led to a lot of just underfired pots. And some very underfired pots.
As usual, my mentor Tsuruta san was able to take the opportunity to educate me on a great many things regarding where the fire needs to go, and how to get it there, ways to improve the forms, and better ways to set the ware. This is actually the high point of any firing cycle for me because I get to learn so much. But, the bad pots are definitely a disappointment.
Luckily, many of the pots will be much improved in a refire, but this increases the cost of the pots for me. Getting it right the first time is much more efficient and effective for making money as a potter, I suspect.
Here are some more pictures of the aftermath, with a couple of little teapots that made it through the ordeal.
Little teapots, I wanted these to get buried in the embers, but I didn’t give them enough protection and most of them got hammered with stoked wood. These two survived at least.
Not a single water jar survived, nor any of the large slab platters, flower vases, or jars.
Nails in the wood that got really cooked, the crumble when you roll them between your fingers and I think will be good to grind up and use as iron underglaze pigment.
Most of the jars ended up like this, with a lot of unmelted ash. Still trying to decide what to do with them. Refire or hammer…. Only one of the large jars actually self destructed, but when it did it took out a really nice teabowl, four porcelain plates, and four chosen karatsu plates. Grrrrr….