A five-chamber climbing kiln was used as the Kotonoura Pottery in Amagasaki, Hyogo, from 1923 though 1946. Some of the bricks from this kiln were then used in August of 2000 to rebuild a kiln in Oizumi Village, Yamanashi, at the southern foot of the Yatsugatake Mountains. This kiln consists of a tunnel kiln in front connected to a climbing kiln in back. The kiln, which is fired three or four times each year, lies at 1,200 m above sea level in an area with plentiful spring water and crystal-clean air. This kiln is used to produce work that cannot be achieved using electric or gas kilns, such as pieces with natural glazes and ash deposits, pieces with overglaze enamels, and unglazed pieces. Recently, pieces with cobalt blue decorations have been produced, obtaining wonderfully deep cobalt colors that are not seen in pieces fired in gas kilns. The kiln was named Oizumi Kiln by 15th generation Grand Master Hounsai of the Urasenke Tea School. “Oizumi Kiln” is written on the boxes of all pieces made here.
●Wood for the OIZUMI kiln
Japanese red pine and Japanese larch are strictly selected from the southern foot of the Yatsugatake Mountains. The logs are cut to lengths of 40 centimeters at a specific time each year and then split using axes or splitting machines to seven-centimeter widths and banded together into bundles. Each firing requires from 300 to 400 bundles of wood totaling between two and three metric tons. With the cooperation of the local people, the wood is carefully prepared for each firing, and their efforts allow us to keep enough wood on hand at any one time for about three firing. We take the utmost care in preparing the wood that produces the flame we need to fire the kiln to make the finest pieces possible.