Newspaper Article 1990 – Final anagama firing on show at Hastings

Final anagama firing on show at Hastings

The final anagama pottery firing by Bruce and Estelle Martin, Hastings, is the subject of an exhibition opening at the Hawke’s Bay Exhibition Centre tomorrow at 5.30pm.

Anagama, ‘‘ana’’ meaning hole or cave and “gama” meaning kiln, is an ancient process developed in Korea about the 4th century. Traditionally fired with pine wood for 8-16 days to produce a very high temperature, the resulting pots are marvellously coloured by the flame, ash from the wood, and the smoke from this long firing. The natural colours of anagama pottery blend with and enhance the colours of nature in a way that cannot be achieved with any other type of firing.

Bruce and Estelle Martin have been potting since about 1957, becoming full-time potters since 1965. In 1978 they first visited Japan as an exploratory journey to potters workshops. They met Sanyo Fujii and were captivated with anagama pottery.

On their return they constructed an anagama kiln following instructions given by Mr Fujii. A second visit to Japan in 1982 to find out more about the firing process resulted in Mr Fujii coming to New Zealand where he lived and worked with the Martins for seven months.

During this time Bruce and Estelle learned to make traditional tea ceremony wares, as well as the finer points of loading and firing the anagama. Their second firing in 1983 was followed by a joint exhibition with Mr Fujii at the Mitsukoshi Art Gallery, Osaka, Japan.

Their careers have been marked with many successful exhibitions in New Zealand, Japan and Canada. Bruce has received two merit awards – the Fletcher Challenge in 1987 and Fletcher Brownbuilt in 1986, and this year was principal award winner in the coveted. United Group – Suter Art Award at the 32nd national exhibition of the New Zealand Society of Potters.

Estelle was chosen as selector for the 19th annual exhibition of the New Zealand Society of Potters in 1976, in Christchurch. She has also attained merit awards in the Norsewear Art Awards exhibitions in 1988 and 1990.

Working from their Hastings property – Kamaka, Estelle and Bruce have spent many hours preparing the wood required to sustain the extended kiln firings.

To complement the display of pottery, a video documenting Final Firing is being produced for visitors to view. Estelle and Bruce will also present two slide talks, on Tuesday, September 11 at 12.10; and on Sunday, September 16, at 2.30pm.

Photo captions –

Estelle and Bruce Martin watch final anagama firing.

Lidded amagama [anagama]-fired pot.

Original digital file


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Kamaka Pottery

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Newspaper article

Date published

5 September 1990


The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


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