Monday 17 September 2007


Today we started the Mashiko kiln building workshop at the Mashiko Tougei club.

Kusakabe Masakazu, co author of the book "Japanese wood fired ceramics", and I are teaching a group of Japanese potters the skills for building our wood kilns.

Over the next five days we will build the two kilns side by side, and they will then be used as rental kilns for potters visiting Mashiko.

Next month we will be doing a four man wood firing workshop with Steve Mills from UK and Wali Hawes from India via spain and Tokoname. There are still some spaces available if you hurry!

We started with the most important step of levelling the foundations today.

Reinforced concrete foundations had been prepared, but they were not flat and level, so we demonstrated two solutions for the problem.

For my kiln, we set up a new frame around the concrete slab and levelled the edges.

We then shovel mixed a mortar mix of 4 of sand 1 of cement and levelled it across the new frame.

Tomorrow we can start laying bricks on it without worrying about having to fudge a level.

Kusakabe sans solution was to chip or grind off the really lumpy bit of the slab, then use firm fire clay and mortar to bring the bottom layer of brick up to a "lowest common denominator".

All hands were busy tapping brick into place and fitting the jigsaw together.

The easiest thing to do of course is to pour a level slab right from the beginning, but the participants of this workshop will have that extra skill of being able to get a good foundation.

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