wood firing is an ancient technique of firing pottery and one of the absolute first kiln designs. the anagama design is a large upward sloping chamber, fuelled with fire stoked in a fire box at the front, the chimney at the top allows the heat to draw through. it’s a very simple design, low impact and environmental cost, unlike electric or gas kilns it requires constant attention and nurturing thoughout the firing to maintain the temperature at over 1000degreescelcius, and depending on its size the firing can take anywhere between eight hours to two days.
this kiln was built in val trebbia, northern italy, which fired only 4 or 5 pots at a time and fired for around 9 hours.
the fire chamber and bottom half of the kiln structure was insulated with clay dug straight from the earth on the farm. the Anagama design uses a single chamber design where the heat travels from the fire up through the kiln where the pottery is and out through the chimney. the key was to make the kiln chamber as hot as possible, and keep the air flowing, and for the pottery to be at the hottest point in the kiln which is at the top of the flames. The chimney was made from an oil barrel with a flume inside, the oil barrel helped to keep the draw but contained the fire enough to keep the flames shorter and therefore the pottery hotter. We reached temperatures over 1100degreescelscius.