Earth-Friendly Japanese Pottery: The Outdoor Pottery With Originality

Posted on: 29 October 2014

Most modern pottery fired in a kiln is first fired "naked", i.e., it does not have any sort of glaze on it. The potters have to fire all the pieces a second time after they apply a glaze. Most of this process is highly toxic and consumes a lot of energy. If you are the more environmentally conservative type, this goes against everything you believe in. A better choice for you is Japanese kiln pottery, often referred to as "outdoor" pottery because the kiln is built down into the earth and cooked and stoked with firewood. The following relates the benefits of this unique type of pottery.

How the Kilns Work

Japanese kilns are constructed such that they are several step down layers into the ground or step up layers into a hill. The entire kiln in both cases is completely covered and compact, with bricks or metal sheets overlaying the outermost hull. A door at one end of the structure allows the potter to step in, place the potter on the stepped structures inside, and then place a lot of wood and kindling just inside the door and light it before closing. As the kindling and wood burns, the heat tries to rise but is mostly confined to the area where the pottery sits. Some heat exits through the flue, but the potter can control how much and when the heat and smoke leave the kiln.

Where the Ash Goes

If you are concerned about where all the potentially harmful wood ash goes, do not be. This is one feature of Japanese pottery that makes it so superb. The ash cannot escape up the flue, so it settles on all of the pottery. As the heat cooks the pottery with the ash on it, the ash creates multiple natural glazes and finishes with extremely unique patterns. These kilns are extremely clean-burning because there is almost nothing left once the pottery is complete. In fact, most potters who utilize outdoor pottery kilns of this type do not sweep any remaining ash out. They leave it in the kiln and reuse it for the next firing.

What That Means for You

You get beautiful, one-of-a-kind pottery fired in an outdoor kiln that does nothing to hurt the environment or use excessive amounts of gas or electricity. You can ask the potter to make anything from garden statuary to vases. Your personal connections to the earth are preserved, and you have lovely artworks to display in your home or give as gifts.

For additional information on pottery and landscapes, check with a local company like Bob Williams Nursery Inc. or otherwise.