After more than
25 years of wood firing, the experience still seduces Nic, as it did
early in his career as a potter. The build up to a firing takes some
considerable planning: organising a firing crew, planning the shifts
and firing the kiln to Nic`s latest ideas and theories concerning clay,
fire, oxidation, reduction, cooling, ember beds, which wood to use, hard
early experiences with wood firing he tended to treat wood just as a convenient fuel
to turn his precious pots from mud to stone. From
very simple sawdust-fired kilns to Nic`s present-day anagama kilns, each
presented heartache and exciting surprises! Amongst the disasters, even
with the worst of firings, a jewel of a pot can be found, thus inspiring
the next episode.
often Nic will take a shard of a pot from the winter grass and will be
inspired with new ideas. Shards are excellent recorders of the fire,
as Nic doesn`t get distracted by the form of the pot and is able to read
the interaction between fire and clay. Very often the shard will be the
influence for Nic's next firing based on the latest theory.
the cycle begins again: which clay to use, the form of the pots and how
will the kiln be fired !
firing is a new journey into the unknown but yet familiar. Maybe it is
something like driving along a motorway, with each journey travelling
a little further along, the motorway staying the same, but the scenery
changing all the time; from sea, moorland, through to mountains.
firing gives a hint of what may be going on within. But that snippet
of information opens endless avenues.