Stayin' Alive can be terrifying
I want to add another chapter to my ole buddy Robin "Grass" Hoppers book #Stayin' Alive- Survival Tactics for the Visual Artist". Chapter #8- Build an Anagama and bury it deep into the soil. I have two potter friends that survived in their kilns. Firstly Captain Brian Nettles had his studio wiped out by a 32 foot wave from that hurricane bitch Katrina. That's Brians moniker for her. Brian escaped in his pick up with a ladder and a chainsaw. He lived in his kiln for a year while rebuilding his house, studio and life. There are those that break and bend. Brian is the other kind. Secondly news today from a long time friend from Down Under- Dr. Steve Harrison. We tried to figure when we became acquainted. We think late 70's. I had built a two chamber wood kiln with a bourry box and I was having trouble. I heard of this dude Down Under who wrote a book called "Laid Back Wood firing" so I licked an evelope and stamp and wrote to Steve for a copy. The letter went by boat and months later I got the book and his response. Still trouble so another lick job and another wait for a carrier pigeon to bring me news. Then came the 90's and I purchased a used Mac computer ($3700 big money at the time)- little wee screen and huge tower of a HD. I joined the Clayart Discussion Group. At that time there were many ceramic brains on that forum- Steve Harrison, Owen Rye, John Neely, Pete Pinnell, Nils Lou, Phil Rogers, Ron Roy, Vince Pitelka, David Hendley and the list goes on. Steve and his partner Janine have been burned out 3 times. The last one almost took their lives. I read that he sent Janine packing and he stayed with the ship as the fire came racing at him. Janine and Steve had wrapped their house in the equivalent of aluminum foil ( they had a kiln building business). Steve put layers of fiber over his anagama as the fire raced towards him he took shelter in the kiln. Imagine the terror of being cooked like a sausage on broil. I can't imagine it! My knees would be knocking and my underwear would be filling up. Period, paragraph- they survived. The contents of their house survived. Studio,wood out buildings, gardens, equipment all lost. They now have a forest of preburned eucalptus trees they are using for a life times supply of heating and kiln firing. They have rebuilt their studio almost entirely out of steel and they are going on with their back to the land lives. There are those that break and bend. They're the other kind.