Fresh from the Dragon Kiln - A Lesson in Transformation

details of transformation

These vessels are very humble offerings, especially when I consider that they rubbed shoulders in the fire with amazing pots by both prodigies and masters; artists with decades of practice in their craft, elegant and nimble hands, fertile imaginations, plus MFA's, grueling apprenticeships in Japan, and other enviable accomplishments. (Wonderful people, all of them, with whom I enjoyed sipping coffee by the campfire, crawling in and out of the belly of the kiln,  and of course admiring tables laden with wares freshly out of the kiln.)

That said, I love these pieces - Buddhas numbering two through six of 108. Remember what they looked like before they went naked into the kiln?

What I love is not what I made of them, but what the fire and ash made of them... those amazing smoky amber surfaces, wrought by elemental forces.

The pots in the Anagama kiln get white hot. Naked flames lick around them, smoke and ash and mysterious chemical vapours whirl in and out of them, leaving traces on their surface. It's alchemy.

I prayed over these pieces when they went in to the kiln. On the second night of the firing, while my partner was working late stoking that fire, I dreamt I was in the heart of the kiln, with these cups - undergoing violent but beautiful transformation. I was worried about them like they were little parts of me, hanging on in a dramatic and dangerous place.

I saw some magical things come out of that kiln when we unloaded it, like a bowl that had gone in full of seaweed, and came out with seagreen glass pooled in the bottom.

It's an object lesson - in life, in practice, in love. Surrender and be transformed. Go in naked and raw, come out strong and shiny, indelibly marked by a mystery, glowing.






  1. Bronwyn- This is a wonderful heartfelt project. The cups are beautiful. I look forward to finding out how to adopt one!

  2. Lovely post - I love your writing - and the little cups are beautiful