Been poking around with #fire and local volcanic earth #clayfromdam and suburban ‘waste’ #wood again. Exploring alt-sustainable and CO2-neutral ways to make. Fabulous to facilitate an #anagama kiln event with Simon Bowley, Gwenna Green, Peter Schmid, Roger Crawford, and students at #SturtContemporary @craftndesign, Mittagong Australia. Gundungurra Country. Fire country getting tinder dry with the unrelenting drought of the past year.
I am using scavenged clay from the ‘spoil heap’ of a neighbouring farmer’s dam dug into the terracotta uplands of Wodi Wodi and Yuin Nation Countries. Here, in the Wingecarribee high places of the Illawarra. The heap and its dam pit now filled with water sits in a paddock of pasture denuded of its pre-colonisation mosaic of messmate and peppermint forest. The ground has been drained of its tussock grass rests, sedge soaks and peat bogs. The water is not surface catchment run-off. It is not cool rainwater collected from east coast lows or April deluges or November thunderstorms. It has been pumped up from a new bore sunk into the deep aquifer cradled in an underground citadel of sandstone. There is a field of freshwater beneath these lush lands expropriated in the swift grab of the New South Wales Robertson Land Act of 1861. Living here, breathing here, is to grapple with contradictions: where does colonisation start—and end? What does the very clay of this old volcanic Country teach me now?
Anagama = (Japanese) cave kiln. I give cause to call this a #wombat kiln – localised common ground architecture that inspires and resonates with the longstanding Japanese potters’ brilliance in building structures to hold and transform with fire #goingunderground+fire
Anagama firing; Boodie 1, 2 (before) and 3 (after). New ways with local earth (volcano-birthed basalt rendered to clay over millennia), reclaimed wood (cypress pine tree cut down and designated as unwanted ‘waste’), fire, stoked combustion, atmosphere, days and nights, late dry ‘winter’, oikos. Can we decolonise and decarbonise together? Plural accounts and accounting? Carbon accounting to neutral as a minimal end point. Avoiding liquid petroleum gas, coal seam (“natural”) gas, and coal-electricity; but still producers of CO2 CO, SO2 N2O, H2O, and so on. Reckoning; with the four ecologies*.
Anagama kiln firing at Sturt Contemporary, Mittagong Australia, Jul 25—28, 2019.
“Anagram a firing” arrived as a glitch in email communication by one of us – smart phones need to be trained in cross-cultural languages – so we kept it. We laugh still about this. A perfect combustion of elements—experienced, material, technological, imagined, and unbidden.