Chris Kelly

Demorest, GA

I intend for my baskets and jars to hold arrangements of seasonal flowers. Much of my inspiration comes from an apprenticeship with the Fujita family from Echizen, Japan. While in Japan, I saw many exhibitions of Ikebana, and was drawn to the collaborative beauty of a vessel and its arrangement.  I make the wazumi jars two coils at a time walking backwards around the stationary pot. My left hand supports the interior of the pot while the right hand scrapes and forms the exterior with a wooden rib.  All of my work in this exhibition is fired in an Anagama, or traditional wood fired kiln. Firing the kiln is a laborious process in which each step from the loading to the final stoke, will make a tremendous impact on the final surface. I don't glaze these pots in a typical manner, the glaze is the direct result of the fire placing and melting ash on the pots.  In a typical firing, I spend two days loading the tunnel kiln placing each pot so that it will get the most exposure to the fire, while not blocking the other. After loading, a small fire is lit in the the kiln for about twelve hours. In the next phase, the temperature gradually increases through adding more wood to the kiln in shorter and shorter intervals. A maximum temperature of 2400 degrees is achieved in the front of the kiln. The fire acts like a river depositing ash on each pot, as it rushes out of the kiln.  Finally after four to five days, the final stoke packs the fire box with as much wood as it will hold, causing the fire to bellow fifteen to twenty feet from the top of the chimney. The results are what you see in front of you. 

My kiln and studio are in Demorest, GA in the NE Georgia mountains where I am Chair of the Art Department at Piedmont College.

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