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 of the pieces I bought and his enthusiasm was contagious. The pieces still inspire me daily and I realized that 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. I then 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 this slumbering passion for wood-fired ceramics will be my future driving force.
Later in 2017 and 2018, I attended wood-firing workshops with Paul and Nina in McGregor to fuel this slumbering passion. They shared their knowledge and experience freely and is always a call away for advice. Nina’s culinary skills taken up in an book lies on my bedside table! After hours of research, and studying many books, I build 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’ new studio in Krugersdorp. We used recycled bricks from the late Chris Patton oil-fire kiln. After much deliberation and consideration, Christine and I decided to name the kiln Meraki. The historic technique of the wood-firing process in Black- and Red-figure painted pots that were produced in Athens in the 6th century BCE connects Meraki, the wood-firing kiln. Meraki describes what happens when you leave a piece of yourself, your souls, creativity or love in your work, used by modern Greeks. Since many people contributed to the kiln and have left a part of themselves in it, Meraki celebrates Christine Williams’s new studio, the late Chris Patton’s bricks, Euan Craig’s plans, Joe Finch’s advice and guidance, Alex’s bricklaying skills, Zakhele Mbele’s kiln building experience and my passion to create wood-fired pieces!