Newspaper Article 1982 – Every pot from tunnel kiln is a ‘discovery’

The Gisborne Herald.

Every pot from tunnel kiln is a ‘discovery’

FOR the first time in New Zealand a kiln has been fired for seven days. The results from Bruce and Estelle Martin’s new “anagama” type tunnel kiln are a unique range of pots straight from the kiln to an exhibition at the Gisborne Museum and Arts Centre.

Ikebana by Joan Pollock, a certificated ikebana teacher, complements the pots which are gently etched and toned from the wood, smoke and fire. This exhibition is on for just one week.

“The pots go into the kiln without any glaze, no treatment at all. They don’t need it. All the colour is from the wood, smoke and flames and is different from pit firing,” Estelle Martin explained,

“The temperature goes up to 1300C, building up slowly over seven days. The anagama type of kiln is half built in the ground on a slope of 15 degrees, tilting from front to back,

“It was our first firing and was just out of this world. All the New Zealand clays were untried as far as the wood firing is concerned.

Bruce Martin says they had not actually seen an anagama kiln in operation before their own firing. But in Japan they had seen the Kilns and the pots fired in them. It took 2 1/2 years to make the kiln in Hastings, but he feels it could have made life easier if he had actually seen a firing in progress before he started.

The pots on exhibition could all be used for flowers and some have been especially made for ikebana. Bruce and Estelle are thrilled that Joan Pollock from Gisborne is in charge of the ikebana. The three of them have worked closely together at another exhibition and they feel she has a real feeling for the type of pot they produce.

They explained that different clays produce different results. Those with more iron, result in a pot with a more burned look and the lighter clays take up the softer ash. The white bodies of the pots take up more ash and soot and have a rosy glow.

But the pots in the ash at the bottom of the kiln are different again. They have texture and colour more attuned to nature with blues, yellows and mossy greens.

“The history of the firing is written into the pot and all the pots have a front and a back and so many facets and variations,’’ explains Estelle.

“There is a rosy glow out of the ash pit which is so different. Joan understands what these pots are asking to be done to them. It’s really thrilling to come here and see her work with the ikebana.”

When Bruce and Estelle Martin first looked into their kiln it was an overwhelming feeling.

“We had helpers with us and we all really felt that you were under the control of the kiln. It is beyond the potter’s control. Each pot is a discovery.”

Photo captions –

POTTERS Bruce and Estelle Martin of Hastings have worked together for over 17 years.

JOAN Pollock of Gisborne gives the Hastings pots a lift with a touch of ikebana.

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Newspaper article

Date published

26 June 1982


The Gisborne Herald


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