How to fire anagama, or Jan, welcome to Klasek Tea!

Introducing Jan Pávek

Honza is a young man who creates exceptional tea pottery. He is a tea enthusiast and self-taught pottery maker. We have met him only recently and we were charmed by his pieces, some of which you can now find in our eshop. See for yourself…

Jan Pávek

potter Jan Pávek

Jan Pávek about himself and his pottery

It all started with tea. The beverage itself and the culture around it fascinated me. I had always felt that – apart from the atmosphere − tea-drinking experience is influenced by pottery in which it is prepared and served.
Later, when I got to a potter’s wheel by chance, I knew instantly that this was the beginning of my journey. I had no training or experience – but what I did have was determination, enthusiasm and passion. It was in 2012 that I sat behind a potter’s wheel for the first time. I have specialised on tea pottery from the very beginning. I had drunk tea long before that and I have concentrated on tea pottery since. I have never turned anything else. That’s what I enjoy and what gives me satisfaction. I am inspired by Chinese and Japanese tea culture.
I have been self-taught from the very beginning. I had to find all information myself. After some time I met people who did wood-fired pottery here in the Czech Republic and I had my first experience with this kind of firing thanks to them. When I later saw anagama firing by Jarda Marek, i realised that this was exactly what I had always wanted for my pottery.
It was drinking tea that led me to pottery making. That’s why I have concentrated on pottery that serves preparing and drinking tea. Tea is a natural creation, which is why I am trying to come as close as possible to nature, and thus to tea itself. I prepare my own material from clays I find. Anagama firing then gives me a sense of resonance with nature. The final look of my pottery is influenced by so many factors that the firing process can never be quite controlled. Quite the opposite: one has to devote himself to it. What is important for me is not only the design but also functionality.

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On anagama firing

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Illustrative photo

My greatest inspiration is anagama firing. An anagama is a one-chamber kiln resembling a tunnel with a fire-shaped cross-section. The firebox is in a direct contact with pottery. Thanks to a constant adding of fire wood the temperature rises and also plenty of ash is created. The ash then deposits on the pottery, melts there and − together with clay − makes a natural enamel. The maximum temperature in the kiln reaches 1300°C and the firing takes from 48 hours to 10 or more days (in large anagamas); this makes wood consumption quite high. The final appearance of the pieces is unmistakeable. This process can be influenced by the position of the pottery in the kiln, firewood used and the way of firing. There are many variables that cannot be influenced. Each piece is an original.

 

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Illustrative photo – anagama

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