Where it all started………
My very first introduction to wood-fired ceramics was on a visit to the Millstone Pottery in McGregor in December 2005. Paul de Jongh patiently explained the process and glaze effects achieved on the pieces I bought, and his enthusiasm was contagious. The pieces still inspire me daily and my fascination with the process was born there.
My second experience was on a trip to Japan in 2015. I bought a few pieces from a potter in Kyoto at a Saturday market as well as handmade painting brushes. From there I saw the exhibition at the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art and the amazing work of Kitaoji Rosanjin. After hours in the museum, I knew that I had to further explore wood-fired ceramics.
In 2017 and 2018, I attended wood-firing workshops with Paul and Nina in McGregor. After hours of research, studying many books, I took a leap and built my very first wood-fire kiln in October 2018. A small philosopher’s kiln from salvaged bricks from the Fairland Brick factory.
And now in July 2020…….
Meraki – a fast-fire down-draught kiln was built at Christine Williams’ studio in Krugersdorp. We used recycled bricks from the late Chris Patton’s oil-fired kiln. After much deliberation and consideration, we decided to name the kiln Meraki. The historic technique of the wood-firing process of Black- and Red-figure painted pots that were produced in Athens in the 6th century BCE inspired the name. Meraki describes what happens when you leave a piece of yourself, your soul, creativity or love in your work, a word used by modern Greeks.