Tuesday, January 6, 2009

its my job to burn the midnight oil.

the anagama. adopted by the japanese from china when there were no horses in north america, crazy i know. they are primarily used for high fire, temperature-over-time, heavy ash build up ceramic objects. can yield good stuff. a firing takes typically four to seven days but one might hear of 10 to 15 day firings. originally built into the sides of earthen hills and fired with no pyrometric cones, the word anagama truely means 'cave fire,' the early masters of the fire used the sound of the roaring fire, the color of the flame, and the intesity of the heat. the process today has a very powerful effect on those who experience it just once. there really isn't anything that can compare to the whole process. calculated. chaotic. scientific. spiritual.

more later.

oh for a great reference book, coffee table book for the person who likes pots, bedside bible for the wood-thirsty flaming beast in all of us, and all the explainations and names for marks made by the kiln gods and you; great images. check out 'Japanese Wood-Fired Ceramics' by Masakazu Kusakabe and Marc Lancet.

this is a fiat 500. i had it dismantled, carried 200 miles in the bed of a truck, and then rebuilt it in Bates Gallery, Edinboro U. for my last show there with a great print maker, my brother, Jeremy Yama.


Monday, January 5, 2009

about me. i began studying ceramics in 2002 during my senior year of highschool (of which i had very little because of the time spent in the studio working on projects and personal work). these classes were taken at the juniata college ceramics studio or "pot shop" under the tutelage of jack troy where i found wood fired ceramics and have since been involved in 13 anagama firings over the past 6 years. it was from him that i learned how to use the wheel to make things. i applied to the university of pittsburgh and then to edinboro university of pennsylvania. i went to edinboro. here i worked with and studied under steven kemenyffy. he opened my mind to accept chaos and to keep working for results, to work through 'the commonality of neo-redundancy', which is his philosophy on the its-all-been-done-before problem. edinboro also has two other professors in the ceramic department that i also took classes from Lee Rexrode and Chuck Johnson. Lee taught me to really self-evaluate my product whether it be functional or otherwise and Chuck sought improvement through focus and repetition. i studied for something like 18 or 21 hours (or more i can't recall exactly but it was a few) of ceramics classes in at edinboro but for a time i felt that my ceramic work was becoming stagnant so after taking my first printmaking course at edinboro my junior year i spent the next two years focused almost entirely on printmaking which opened my mind to a whole new universe of great new processes expressing ideas. what a breath of fresh air the loveland hall print sudios gave me. john lysak and franz spohn are likely two of the most helpful faculty i have worked with during my time in edinboro. at the end of my stay i was fortunate to have the oppourtunity to work on a six panel mural for the technology building on campus in edinboro, effectively making me the first art student attending edinboro to have a piece of work permenently displayed on campus, who would have thought! after graduation i came back to my home town to absorb college and to work on making art. since being home i have begun working towards the idea that i am getting ready for making ceramic objects again. after being in an institutional setting for the last 17 years of my life and just getting used to college i am here to make work, i know that much about me.

http://www.jacktroy.net/ * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Kemenyffy *

Friday, January 2, 2009

these pots were made around 2007. the finished piece was fired in a soda kiln to cone 11 and the other two were part of a series of 6. all six were destroyed in a rather chaotic anagama firing. the clay was formulated for wood firing and I have the recipe somewhere in storage. the handles are suspended with nickle-chromium wire. this is good stuff but it did not hold up in the wood kiln. i suspect the wood ash fluxed the metal to a point at which it could not take the temperature and the handles failed. however, i do not expect to give up on this technique and once i get back into the swing of a making cycle i will do more tests and tell you all about it.

but for now enjoy the work.

if some of the information is not clear to you reading this i will post more informational logs on 'anagama' (japanese high-fire wood kilns) firing and process as well as images as i find them in my boxes and storage and as i take them.