A Casual Smoker
I’m what ya call a casual smoker. I used to smoke long ago when it didn’t hurt you. One year I tried smoking full time and had 5 successive firings in my big two chamber wood kiln. I went to my accountant at the end of that year and he informed me I had to stop smoking. He said every time I smoked it cost me $5000. My income was down $25,000 that year. The high cost of smoking. So over the years although I have developed a reputation as a wood fire potter I have mostly paid the bills with gas fired pots. In my hay day that amounted to 5 firings in my wood fired train kiln and 25 in my 20 cubic foot gas kiln per year. That’s a lot of pots and a lot of money. Hey where the hell did it all go? Up in smoke, that’s where.
I have always had access to a wood fired kiln. They are most certainly my favourite pots. Here is an example of 6 moon jars made from the same sitting, the same clay, the same glaze and the same kiln. Look at the amazing variety of colour and surface. I love the idea of thinking you are in control of the uncontrollable. These pots were fired in the Amish Rocket anagama in upstate New York. Marv Bjurlin is rebuilding that kiln on a new site and it promises to be a happening scene.
I have known many potters that late in their careers have taken to wood firing to rekindle the fire inside them. If ya live long enough why not take up smoking? I’m gonna have a smoke with Donovan Palmquist in Minnesota in a couple of weeks. The idea now of me smoking a whole pack by myself almost seems daunting now. I prefer to share a pack with 4 or 5
Control in pottery is largely a myth we hang onto for sanity!