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Sajoi
wood-fired kiln, Japanese tea ceremony, glaze, Fujiwara Kei, un-embellished form, Bernard Leach, aesthetics, utilitarian, design, Anagama kiln, flux, ceramic, surface design, artistic medium, kiln god, stoneware, porcelain, function, form, wood-fired kiln, inspirations, learning by observation, firing a kiln, traditional Japanese ceramics, pottery, build a kiln, cellar kiln, tunnel kiln, 5-day kiln firing, stoneware, wood fired stoneware, Farrero, clay-firing methods, , stoneware, wood-fired kiln, containers, ceramics, form, organic glazes, wood ash glazes,
description

Anagama Kiln

Farrero’s project L’Agamine began with desire to build and  fireA process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  an Anagama wood-fired  kilnA special oven or furnace that can reach very high temperatures and is used to bake, or fire clay. Kilns may be electric, gas, or wood-fired. (Artlex.com) To see some examples of wood-firing kilns, go to the Wood Firing Kiln Gallery at: http://www.woodfiring.com/KILNS.html. For information on salt-firing kilns, go to About Salt Firing at: http://www.glenfarmpottery.com/AboutSaltFiring.htm.  (an example of an Anagama kiln is seen on the left). This kiln is valued in Japan for the unpredictable  glazesA term used in ceramics to describe a thin coating of minerals which produces a glassy transparent or colored coating on bisque ware. Typically applied either by brushing, dipping, or spraying, it is fixed by firing the bisque ware in a kiln. This makes the surface smooth, shiny, and waterproof. Also, a glaze can be a thin, translucent or transparent coat over a painting, sometimes meant simply to protect the paint underneath, but more often to add a veil of colouration to an area of a picture. (artlex.com)  produced during the  firingTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  process. While visiting Japan in 1978 Farrero observed the kiln in action and knew immediately that he wanted to build and  fireA process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  his own in Saskatchewan. His kiln is the result of many years of research and planning and hours of physical work. After much trial and error, Farrero’s first firing took place in 2003.

Sajoi, which is part of the MacKenzie Art Gallery collection, was  firedTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  in his Anagama kiln. This austere work is a spherical container with a short neck leading to a small opening at the top of the pot. In making it, Ferraro attempted to replicate a traditional Japanese pot like one he had admired in Japan. It was a tribute to an artist named Fujiwara Kei, who, for his expertise in ceramics, is considered one of Japan’s living national treasures. As MacKenzie Art Gallery  curatorAn individual or group, who conceives an idea for an art exhibition, selects the art works, plans how they will be displayed and writes accompanying supporting materials for the ideas presented. A curator can work freelance or be affiliated with a gallery, and serves as the link between artists and gallery.  Tim Long states, “Farrero picked up a pot at his host’s studio and was shocked by its substantial weight, an experience which disputed his idea about the need to produce light pots.” (Long, 2006)

The unembellished  formIn its widest sense, total structure; a synthesis of all the visible aspects of that structure and of the manner in which they are united to create its distinctive character. The form of a work is what enables us to perceive it. Form also refers to an element of art that is three-dimensional (height, width, and depth) and encloses volume. For example, a triangle, which is two-dimensional, is a shape, but a pyramid, which is three-dimensional, is a form. Cubes, spheres, ovoids, pyramids, cone, and cylinders are examples of various forms. Also, all of the elements of a work of art independent of their meaning. Formal elements are primary features which are not a matter of semantic significance — including colour, dimensions, line, mass, medium, scale, shape, space, texture, value; and the principles of design under which they are placed — including balance, contrast, dominance, harmony, movement, proportion, proximity, rhythm, similarity, unity, and variety. (Artlex.com)  and finish of Ferraro’s Sajoi could also be a tribute to Bernard Leach, the British potter who in the 1920’s studied Japanese pottery  designA plan, or to plan. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and principles of design have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity. Also [applied design], the production of attractive and well crafted functional objects. Subcategories of the design arts include: architecture, bonsai, fashion design, furniture design, graphic design, ikebana, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, stagecraft, textile design, and Web page design. (Artlex.com)  and methods. Writer Jack Anderson says about Leach, “[he] championed not only the simple methodologies of traditional Japanese pottery but also Japanese  aestheticsThe branch of philosophy that deals with the nature and value of art objects and experiences. It is concerned with identifying the clues within works that can be used to understand, judge, and defend judgments about those works. Originally, any activity connected with art, beauty and taste, becoming more broadly the study of art's function, nature, purpose, and so on. (Artlex.com)  with its deceptively simple and often  utilitarianOf or pertaining to utility; consisting in utility; aiming at utility as distinguished from beauty, ornament, etc.; sometimes, reproachfully, evincing, or characterized by, a regard for utility of a lower kind, or marked by a sordid spirit; as, utilitarian narrowness; a utilitarian indifference to art. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  forms and earthy-organic  glazesA term used in ceramics to describe a thin coating of minerals which produces a glassy transparent or colored coating on bisque ware. Typically applied either by brushing, dipping, or spraying, it is fixed by firing the bisque ware in a kiln. This makes the surface smooth, shiny, and waterproof. Also, a glaze can be a thin, translucent or transparent coat over a painting, sometimes meant simply to protect the paint underneath, but more often to add a veil of colouration to an area of a picture. (artlex.com)  that speak to simplicity, to natural processes, to defect and to the ethos of the handmade.” (Anderson, 2005)

start quote...people just said wow this is incredible, and then the pots came out and they were really, really beyond expectation.end quote
-- Charley Farrero

The exterior or skin of Farrero’s Sajoi pot provides an extraordinary finish to his basic form. It appears to have had layers of earth coloured  glazesA term used in ceramics to describe a thin coating of minerals which produces a glassy transparent or colored coating on bisque ware. Typically applied either by brushing, dipping, or spraying, it is fixed by firing the bisque ware in a kiln. This makes the surface smooth, shiny, and waterproof. Also, a glaze can be a thin, translucent or transparent coat over a painting, sometimes meant simply to protect the paint underneath, but more often to add a veil of colouration to an area of a picture. (artlex.com)  applied to its  surface(an element of art) The outer or topmost boundary or layer of an object. Colours on any surface are determined by how incident rays of light strike it, and how a surface reflects, scatters, and absorbs those rays. The material qualities of a surface, as well as its form and texture further determine how it is seen and felt. (artlex.com) See also texture.  and in some places the  glazeA term used in ceramics to describe a thin coating of minerals which produces a glassy transparent or colored coating on bisque ware. Typically applied either by brushing, dipping, or spraying, it is fixed by firing the bisque ware in a kiln. This makes the surface smooth, shiny, and waterproof. Also, a glaze can be a thin, translucent or transparent coat over a painting, sometimes meant simply to protect the paint underneath, but more often to add a veil of colouration to an area of a picture. (artlex.com)  is so thick that it is running down the side of the pot. This is indeed what happened over the five-day firing process as the ash from the wood, the  fireA process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  and the air movement within the kiln spontaneously produce the decorative yet unplanned finishes on the unglazed pots. The kiln itself is seen as a ‘collaborator,’ or co-working partner, in the exhausting firing process.  CuratorAn individual or group, who conceives an idea for an art exhibition, selects the art works, plans how they will be displayed and writes accompanying supporting materials for the ideas presented. A curator can work freelance or be affiliated with a gallery, and serves as the link between artists and gallery.  Tim Long states that, “Anagama vessels are a record of two performances: the potter’s work with  clayMud; moist, sticky dirt. In ceramics, clay is the basic material, usually referring to any of a certain variety of mixtures of such ingredients — fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet, brittle when dry, and very hard when heated. There is a temperature with ceramic clays at which their particles fuse (vitrification), and this is most commonly controlled by heating (firing) them in a kiln. The most common types of ceramic clays are earthenware (terra cotta when fired, terra cruda when not), stonewares, and porcelain. (Artlex.com)  and the fire’s dance over the surface.” (Long, 2006)  The artist builds the pot, but forces beyond the artist’s grasp, related to nature, science, time and the unknown, decorate the surfaces.

The firing of this kiln is historically significant, because the methods and procedures are ancient and important in the origins of ceramics. Curator Tim Long goes on to explain the exclusiveness of the kiln, ” The term ana-gama (literally “cellar kiln”) refers to the tunnel-type kiln which originated in China and came to Japan sometime in the 5th century A.D. Its innovative sloping design-kilns were often built into the sides of hills - ensured a strong updraft and helped these wood-fired kilns achieve stoneware temperatures hot enough to flux wood ash into glaze.” (Long 2006) View Farrero’s kiln.

Farrero built his kiln large enough to include other artists’  ceramicPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  works in the firing, in exchange for their help during the five-day, round-the-clock intensive  firingTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  period. Tim Long quotes fellow ceramist, participant Mel Bolen, as saying the experience is one where you, ”laugh and cry and yell and work and sweat together.” (Long, 2005) Farrero also wants to interest and encourage younger craftspeople in exploring different clay-firing methods, and in the process he hoped to build a stronger community of  ceramicPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  artists in the province.

More about the kiln

The Anagama kiln itself is composed of over 5,000 bricks and will hold 50 cubic feet of  ceramicPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  wares. Loading the kiln is a selective process because some areas in the kiln are better than others for the accumulation of ash on the pot surfaces. It takes over two days to load the kiln and it will  fireA process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  for nearly 120 hours, using approximately nine cords of wood.

Critic Jack Anderson describes this kiln as, ”[a] slope-roofed brick cellar  kilnA special oven or furnace that can reach very high temperatures and is used to bake, or fire clay. Kilns may be electric, gas, or wood-fired. (Artlex.com) To see some examples of wood-firing kilns, go to the Wood Firing Kiln Gallery at: http://www.woodfiring.com/KILNS.html. For information on salt-firing kilns, go to About Salt Firing at: http://www.glenfarmpottery.com/AboutSaltFiring.htm.  built in a dugout area of earth or hillside. Stoked with wood rather than easily-available and controllable natural gas or electricity, firings in these kilns are not only labour-intensive efforts; the resulting  surface(an element of art) The outer or topmost boundary or layer of an object. Colours on any surface are determined by how incident rays of light strike it, and how a surface reflects, scatters, and absorbs those rays. The material qualities of a surface, as well as its form and texture further determine how it is seen and felt. (artlex.com) See also texture.  colours and textures that are largely unpredictable.” (Anderson, 2005)  The ash, the  fireA process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  and the air movement within the  kilnA special oven or furnace that can reach very high temperatures and is used to bake, or fire clay. Kilns may be electric, gas, or wood-fired. (Artlex.com) To see some examples of wood-firing kilns, go to the Wood Firing Kiln Gallery at: http://www.woodfiring.com/KILNS.html. For information on salt-firing kilns, go to About Salt Firing at: http://www.glenfarmpottery.com/AboutSaltFiring.htm.  decorate the surfaces of the pots over the five-day firing. The artist builds the pot but nature, science, time and the unknown decorate the surfaces.

additional resources Being Part of the Transformation
Duration: 2:24 min
Size: 10476kb
Gayoons
Duration: 1:58 min
Size: 8461kb
Getting Started
Duration: 1:37 min
Size: 7265kb
How Meacham Became an Artist Community
Duration: 2:26 min
Size: 10928kb
Sajoi
Duration: 2:20 min
Size: 10007kb
Things to Think About
  • Think about the cost of handmade articles, and discuss this with fellow students and teachers.  What goes into the making of something by hand?  What are the obvious and the hidden costs?  Wayne Morgan states, “[collector Richard Spafford] soon learned that antiques sold better than crafts” (Morgan, 2007)  Why do you think this might be?
    • Sometimes certain objects, such as boats, are referred to in the female gender (as you can see here). Kilns are also referred to as being female. Why do you think that would have this status?
    Boat
  • Farrero often likes to use wordplay when he titles his works. Knowing this what could the titles L’Agamine and Sajoi possibly mean?  You might want to start by Googling these words!
  • What is a “Kiln God”? Why do potters mention one with every firing?
Online Activity
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Decorate a plate and virtually fire it at ArtisanCam, Slip Decorator at:

Studio Activity

Visit artists’ studios and interview them to learn more about their work and their processes

Using ceramics, build a  frameSomething made to enclose a picture or a mirror; or an enclosure composed of parts and joined together; or to make such things. (Artlex.com)  and  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  as Farrero often does in his practice.

Jack Anderson describes some of Farrero’s other works as “[c]ontained in  ceramicPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  frames as if they were valued paintings, his mildly amusing narratives and occasionally corny little visual puns are in fact a visual jumble of all matter of cheap and curiously sentimental ceramic items all easily found in bargain stores everywhere.” (Anderson, 1999) Look at some examples of Farrero’s wall sculptures at his website.

Roll out a slab of  clayMud; moist, sticky dirt. In ceramics, clay is the basic material, usually referring to any of a certain variety of mixtures of such ingredients — fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet, brittle when dry, and very hard when heated. There is a temperature with ceramic clays at which their particles fuse (vitrification), and this is most commonly controlled by heating (firing) them in a kiln. The most common types of ceramic clays are earthenware (terra cotta when fired, terra cruda when not), stonewares, and porcelain. (Artlex.com)  on a paper-covered tile, a canvas-covered piece of  plywoodA type of manufactured wood made from thin sheets of wood veneer.  or other surface. Cut out pieces of clay and build a  frameSomething made to enclose a picture or a mirror; or an enclosure composed of parts and joined together; or to make such things. (Artlex.com)  around the outside edges of the  ceramicPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  tile. Be sure to think about how the  frameSomething made to enclose a picture or a mirror; or an enclosure composed of parts and joined together; or to make such things. (Artlex.com)  will be hung on the wall and make a loop or place a hole in the clay. After the clay has been  firedTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  it will have an opening that can be placed over a nail and the framed clay picture can be displayed on a wall.

View Farrero’s Gayoons.

These little creatures are imaginative sculptures made from Farrero’s experience and imagination. He states that they are:

Created from earth.
Hail from Androxia.
Roam in Canada, Mexico.
Appear in France, China.
Travel alone or in groups.
Ride boats, horses, baguettes, ladders...
Wear coats of many colours.

Gayoons are the fruits of Charley Farrero imagination

Build your own ‘Gayoon’ based on your experiences, adventures and imagination. Write a poem or story to accompany your ‘Gayoon’.

Build a mosaic

View Farrero’s shattered images and other images created using mosaics.

Farrero’s mosaics are made from breaking clay bowls and grouting them back together on a similar-shaped clay surface. No doubt the first plate was made to ‘fix’ an accident but now Farrero makes these as part of his regular production. The  surface(an element of art) The outer or topmost boundary or layer of an object. Colours on any surface are determined by how incident rays of light strike it, and how a surface reflects, scatters, and absorbs those rays. The material qualities of a surface, as well as its form and texture further determine how it is seen and felt. (artlex.com) See also texture.  decoration and designs are interesting and seem to have a sense of history unlike the finished plates that are unaltered and sold directly as they were from the kiln.

For more information and visuals on making a mosaic, go to the ArtisanCam “Activity Zone”.

References

Anderson Jack. ‘Exhibition Displays Uniqueness of Artists.’ Regina Leader Post, Nov. 2, 2005.

Anderson ,Jack. ‘An Interesting Mix of Approaches to Clay.’ Regina Leader Post, March 25, 1999.

Long, Timothy. L’Agamine. Exhibition catalogue. MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, 2005.

Saskatchewan Craft Council. Expo 04. Exhibition, 2004.

Zimmer, Christopher. New Canadian Sculptural Ceramics. Exhibition catalogue.Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1986.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning