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 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 also 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. They shared their knowledge and experience freely and is always a call away for advice and Nina’s culinary skills taken up in an book lies on my bedside table that includes glaze recipes too! After hours of research, studying many books, I took a leap and 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, we 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, a word used by modern Greeks. So many people contributed to the process and the building of the kiln, therefore Meraki celebrates Christine Williams, the late Chris Patton, Euan Craig, Joe Finch, Alex, Zackhele Mbele, Paul & Nina, Maria Zielssler and myself!