7 Day Anagama Firing with Peter Callas

March 30 thru April 12, 2000

At Dan Finchs' Pottery in Bailey, North Carolina


In America an Anagama is usually loaded with glazed functional ware and fired over a period of three to four days. Using Callas technique, unglazed green ware is best suited to benefit from ash deposit and build-up accumulated during an extended 7 day firing process. The cooling down period is extended as well to create a rustic -not glass/glaze-like- surface.

A combination of hard and soft wood will be used (approx.12 cords). Workshop participants will assist Peter Callas and his crew in stoking around the clock. The desired temperature is 2300-2400 degree F (Cone 9-12). The firing is preceded by 2 days of loading the huge 600cu feet kiln. Peter Callas is a Master in the technique of tumble stacking a way of placing pottery in the kiln that maximizes/equalizes heat distribution, ash deposit and the intriguing art of "painting with fire".


Thursday morning: Kiln loading starts

Tumble stacking starts at the narrow end of the kiln close to the chimney. (Note: site ports will be used to stoke with kindling style wood, to built up ashes and raise the temperature in the back of the kiln)

Sets of shelving were placed between the 3 sets of site stoke ports to hold smaller pieces and all of the glazed ware.


My orbs (approx. 65cm/25 1/2inch diam.) are placed under the front site ports.

After 3-4 days of firing they will be totally submerged in deep bed of amber/ashes. Friday 2 am.: there is still a lot of ware to be loaded.

Saturday after midnight: Peter is contemplating the placement of a piece of pottery in the fire box.

Saturday 4 am: Kiln loading is finished The kiln door will be closed and a gas burner will be used to raise the temperature inside the kiln to about 160 F.



Goal: Hold this temperature until kiln and ware are completely dried out.


The door is bricked in and the building of the external combustion platform is completed. Kindling with pine wood starts. To avoid thermal shock the temperature will be raised slowly (approx. 30F/hr). This outside combustion firing will continue for 2 days with the temperature holding at approx. 800F.

Goal: to build a bed of coal inside the kiln before fire box firing starts and to have gas carry fly-ashes throughout the kiln.

Monday morning: Fire-box firing starts

Goal: to have the temperature rise 30 to 50 degrees per hour.

Tuesday 9 pm. 1550F: side-stoking starts

Temperature difference between back and front inside the kiln is 250 F.

Goal: Use side stoking to bring up the temperature in the back and to have a bed of coal build up throughout the entire kiln while stoking maintain a +/- 40 degree swing in temperature.


Wednesday midnight: Temperature is at Cone 6 (2194 degrees F)

Thursday afternoon: Temperature is at Cone 11 (2361 degrees F) The temperature in the fire box is 200 degrees higher than in the back of the kiln.

Goal: to hold the temperature in front while raising the temperature in the back through more aggressive site stoking. At 9 pm Cone 12 is bending and the temperature difference front/back is reduced to 90 degrees.

Friday 1 am: firing down starts

Goal: Rake amber in firing box gently to burn down coal and create a protection blanket by covering the pieces in the firing box first with small then with larger chunks of wood until the entire box is filled - ending with a blanket of small pieces. Stoke all site ports using kindling style oak to fill kiln chambers up as high as possible. Seal the entire kiln including chimney and damper. At 3:30 am the kiln is sealed and the front/back temperature difference is 30 degrees.

Friday 4 am: Firing cycle is completed The front/back temperature difference is 3 degrees.


Kiln Opening: Tuesday pm.






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