Newspaper Article 1996 – Potting with the past

Potting with the past

HASTINGS POTTERS Estelle and Bruce Martin are exhibiting the best of their work from 12 years of Anagama kiln firings.

The Martins have two Anagama kilns, one of which is the biggest in New Zealand and has the capacity to hold 1000 pots. One firing takes 9½ days and uses 25 tonnes of split pine wood.

To maintain the required temperature of 1300degC, the kiln needs to be stoked every five minutes, requiring the Martins to work in shifts.

Basing the design on one owned by a friend in Japan, Bruce and Estelle built their kiln over a three year period. Using about 5000 bricks, it is constructed on four levels.

It was fired for the first time in 1982. From then on, Bruce and Estelle used it once a year until 1990 when they built a smaller version which could be fired more often – up to four times a year, depending on access to dry wood.

In comparison, only 300 bricks were required for this kiln which holds 80 pots and has a firing time of 3 1/2 days.

Using an Anagama kiln is an ancient method of firing dry clay pots, which probably originated in Korea and was then taken to Japan where it is still used today, Estelle says.

Their Japanese friend has helped them develop techniques to obtain maximum effects from their kilns.

Much of the exhibition, which runs throughout January at the Martins gallery in Valentine Road, Hasting [Hastings], is large pots and ware for Japanese tea-making ceremony.

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Kamaka Pottery

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Newspaper article

Date published

11 January 1996


The Courier-Leader


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today

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