As the final week approaches I'm feeling a sense of quiet elation tinged with sadness as this amazing trip enters its final phase.
The day started early partly due to a fire alarm planned for 9am but more importantly my first 'big' kiln firing finishing!
The firing was a complete success and I'm very pleased with the results and the guidance this provides for final production day tomorrow.
The Anagama kiln was started and we hope to have results quite quickly as the firing (I hear) will be short but intense!
A new arrival came today - Fabienne - from Belgium who I met briefly and hope to get acquainted with soon.
I started work on final pieces including a 'homage' to the famous Japanese 'Jomon Pot'.
On visiting the guys at the Anagama up in the woods I heard the eery call of the Sika Deer and then met it face to face...magical!
I was then driven out into the mountain forests deep in Shigaraki region to visit an Onsen spa (natural spring waters) with Yoko and Xiao Li.
On the way we spotted a Raccoon Dog sneaking into the forest - Tanuki!
Yoko and I spent the evening with the spa to ourselves and enjoyed both indoor and outdoor pools whilst Xiao Li had a massage. Unforgettable.
The day ended at Yoko's house with a shared meal in her lovely home.
It felt like a dream today - made extra special by the news I've just received that a grant from the Arts Council has been awarded to fund a kiln as part of my ceramics research and development project.
Sending best wishes to you all.
Everything survived the firing - let's hope it survives the shipping!
The Anagama guys bless the kiln with a carton of sake!
Garrett makes an impromptu kiln god...
Up to 340 - aiming to get to 1300 and then down again in 24 hours if the wood dries out!
Xiao Li and Yoko at Yoko's house.
Presentation in Yoko's house to celebrate 'Daughters' Day' every 3rd of March.