These pieces are fired in an anagama-style wood-fired kiln.  Anagamas are tunnel shaped kilns, also sometimes known as hill kilns because they are built on an upward sloping incline to improve draft inside the kiln during firing.  Anagamas date back many centuries and were first used in Asia, where they were able to achieve high temperatures necessary to produce fine porcelain.

Anagama kilns are usually quite large. The kiln I fire in takes two days just to load, and holds about 200 pots.  Each piece must be wadded with a refractory material to lift it off the kiln shelf, then carefully placed with regard to flame patterns and ash flow. Wood fired pieces do not typically have glaze applied the outside surface, although the interiors will have a liner glaze.  The sheen, flashing and colorations you see on the surface of these pots is totally due to fine ash which is carried on the flames and distributed throughout the kiln, landing on the pots where it melts.  Wood firings are a team effort; ours usually take place over a 72 to 96 hour period, can reach temperatures in excess of 2400 degrees and can use up to six cords of wood.  The kiln is then slow-cooled for up to a week before opening to reveal the treasures within.  Due to the high temperature firing, wood fired work is highly functional and is microwave, oven, refrigerator and even freezer-safe.  It can be washed in the dishwasher, but I always hand wash my prized pieces.

Wood fired pottery is relatively rare due to the expense and scope of the kilns and firing efforts.  It is difficult to appreciate their true beauty from photographs. Please see my show schedule for dates to view this work personally.

Enjoy!   Beverly Curtis

Click on any image to view an enlargement. If you are interested in a particular artwork, or have an idea for a specially commissioned piece, I would enjoy talking to you about it.  Please go to my contact page to email or call me directly.

The shape of these four wood-fired vases is modeled after a vessel found during an archeological dig in Iran.  They are 10-12 inches tall; a good size for a long stemmed bouquet. I use a porcelaneous stoneware to form the body of the pot.  When the piece is leather hard and can be handled, I trim the foot and apply a porcelain slip-trailed design. I think the contrast between the ash glazed vessel and the porcelain slip is quite effective.

A lovely woodfired vase with porcelain slip trailing and tenmoku glaze liner.

This pitcher holds almost two quarts.  It is light enough to handle easily when full, with  substantial handle and a pronounced pouring spout.  It has a nice accumulation of natural wood ash glaze on the shoulder.

Two teapot sets made with shigaraki clay, which gives a very lively surface when woodfired.

Porcelain mugs with impressed designs add interest to the morning cuppa.

Cruets are fun to use for maple syrup, vinegar and oil, and even hand soap or detergent at the sink.

A classic vase shape with beautiful wood ash glaze.

Wood fired serving bowl with tenmoku liner glaze.

Porcelain iced tea glasses with flashing slip brushed on at the leather hard stage adding interest.