The cooling cycle for John’s noborigama typically takes about 3 days; a very impatient
time for John. But it provides a much needed rest after the long days and intensity
of the firing process.
After the woodfiring, occasionaly certain pieces are accented with low fire overglaze
enamels which are fired onto the already glazed pieces in a third firing to about
1500 F, usually done in a small electric kiln. This low firing takes only a mere
5 or 6 hours, and a like time for it to cool off.
Firing John’s Clay Work
The firing of John’s work is done in a pair of fuel fired kilns which are located
at his studio, River Bend Pottery. John designed and built both of these kilns himself
over 30 years ago. They sit on kiln pads located outdoors in the graveled “kiln
yard” area just behind the main studio.
Once it is air dried, most of his work is first bisque fired in a propane fueled
gas kiln to about 1750°F over a heating cycle of about 12 hours. It takes a
day to then cool before it can be unloaded. Once cool, the work is then unloaded
from that firing, and carried back into the studio where glazes are applied to a
large portion of the pieces for the coming finish firing.
Once they are glazed and decorated, the pieces are loaded into the large wood-fired
noborigama (climbing kiln) and then finish fired (a second firing) in the wood fueled
noborigama type kiln to about 2400°F in about a 38 hour total heating cycle. Each
of the five chamber’s exact temperature and kiln atmosphere is individually controlled
to create the effects for which John is striving.
Noborigama style kilns are very complex to control, and are outside the experience
base for most western potters.
NOTE: John does not use the heavy production methods of slip casting, hydraulic
pressing, or jiggering to form any of his wares, he does not utilize off-shore or
domestic contract manufacturing, nor does he purchase any "stock" pre-made ceramic
forms from pottery supply companies.