In the beginning of August 2013 a week long workshop took place in Janja Gora, Croatia. It was all about wood firing ceramics in a special kiln called the anagama. 

Branko Šupica, the owner of kiln and atelier in Janja Gora and Lou Smedts, a ceramics guru

wood, prepared and cut into small pieces

a Lou Smedts chawan, also seen on a cover of a Chawan Expo magazine, now owned by Branko Šupica (he has a cupboard only and full of chawans in his living room)

Branko happily loading his favourite kiln

a journey of one of my vases

turned out as a nice spot in the kiln (the atmosphere along with its temperatures varies throughout the kiln)

my glazed pots waiting to be loaded

all things have protective layers so they don’t stick

Danijela Pešut, the lady of the house and a great ceramist

coffee breaks – balkan style as with real turkish coffe

the scenery was also amazing

Jinx, a true tornjak guarded my tent at night and I felt safe; later they told me he killed a wolf last year, so thank you J!

cones are indicators of temperatures; different cones bending or melting tell us the reached temperature

first five melted, last (cone 10) bent: my first cone 10 down! pyrometer’s top temperature:

once the house and atelier will be finished, it will be beautiful

but the kiln and its house is very finished! 

I played with shells, they make nice imprints

I have 2 new dessert plates now

it was also my time for loading, I wanted to learn all the rules

loaded, after several hours

closed with bricks an doors, ready for morning firing

next morning, Branko woke up early and collected local goods

rakija as a celebration and start of firing

local goods as an offering to the kiln gods. religion: anagama

proud Branko with his guardian dog in front of his kiln

cutting of wood to start the fire was also a part of a ritual. but yet everything with anagama is.

she drank one cup of rakija too

8:30 – ignition

and this is how you fire anagama, for 15 hours

when the flames cleared (every time the kiln digested the loaded bundle of wood) you could see the pots glowing; at its highest temperatures the glow was pure white, like looking into the Sun

chimney started to glow, roof started to burn

master firerer

we finished in 15 hours, quite fast due to a good kiln and a small load

after last load of wood, we closed the kiln with doors and holes with mud. now the final reduction takes place, making the glazes sooo beautiful

black smoke means heavy reduction

and now the five day long cooling and waiting begins. a photo of atelier

i did some turning

a visit to a local honey producer

Plaški church

Dretulja spring

Plitvice lakes
crew over Plaški view

and while waiting, I listened to Mr. Lou’s private lessons, as a real apprentice, as true ceramic geek. luckily for me, he loves to talk a lot about ceramics. he is a master, a teacher, a traveler, a ceramist with three Ph.Ds and a great man

FINALLY! THE OPENING! drums had to be there

a new ritual for the opening

celebration time

hard working feet

see the blood? a rooster got killed. a sacrifice

we threw 9 kg of salt in the kiln, only these crystals were left on the floor

sheep were working hard too, all covered in mud


he guarded the kiln well

and finally: the opening!


all gathered

 well done not medium rare

to Peter

result is 10% success: chawan with tea dust glaze is amongst them

chawan, porcelain, localy made celadon

chawan, from me for me

my new salad bowl with my new favourite glaze: flashing slip 

ash melted into a green ash glaze, which dripped into chawan