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In pictures of Anagama, Noborigama and other open air kilns I regularly see so called kiln gods sitting on top of the kilns.

 

Recently I’ve read the book “The Worship of Kiln Gods†by Dr. PhD Martie Geiger-Ho and I was really impressed that you can find kiln gods all over the world.

 

Well, I admit I fabricated a kiln god myself and set it upon my electric kiln when I last fired it and…. the firing was just perfect. Now John will (maybe) tell me that kiln gods have no place on a programmable electric kiln because the god can’t have influence over the set program. Or can he/she?

 

So tell me: do you all believe in kiln gods? Do you have one yourself? Do you think its all superstition? Or is it faith?.... or just tradition? I wonder….

 

Evelyne 

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I remember someone rushing to make a kiln god before a firing could be started, I also remember some disasters when the kilns were open.  I have never subscribed to kiln god tradition but it doesn't hurt and it can alleviate the stress of loading a kiln.   Denice

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Kiln Gods? Similar to good luck charms?

 

Anyone who believes in the in the electric kiln gods pays homage every month with a nice contribution to their power company. They may not be thee "higher power" but they honor their parishioners by keeping the juice coming until that little temple (the kiln) loses the faith (needs repair) and you feel like it will take an act of god to repair it.

 

I've never subscribed to idea of kiln gods.  

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I used them on every firing at the university for 25 years. I wanted to keep some after I retired. I went back to see if I could have some but they had been thrown out. The roof go the kiln room burnt the next month...just saying'...

 

 

I saw kilns blessed in Spain. 

Marty Geiger-Ho has written a book on Kiln Gods. She is quite an authority.

 

Marcia

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we have an assortment of little kiln gods on top of both the big gas kilns. not sure who made them. someday i will get on a ladder and look at them closely.  maybe add one of my own.   they are part of the charm and culture of our studio.   rakuku

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Heck yes, I believe in kiln gods!! I even offer a sacrifice of white rice in my bisque when I fire. :D I always pat Fred's lid when I fire and say, "Okay, be good!" I'm REALLY superstitious when it comes to my firings, because of all the ridiculous amount of time I spend on surface treatment. Any loss is a really crappy loss for me anymore, because my pieces are five times the effort for an eighth of the volume.

 

The kiln gods are USUALLY happy with me *knocks furiously on wood*, but the electrical gods sure weren't this past week... geez. >.<

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I've only done four firings in my own kiln (3 bisque and one glaze) and so far it's gone very well even though I feel nervous apprehension when starting it up. I try to show confidence and bravery in front of the invisible kiln gods because I've seen so many bad things happen in the community college's kilns where I have no control at all.

 

Paul

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I made kiln dogs (kiln gods) with dog head -think pluto for many years

70's-80's-Once had a piece in a show with about 50 of them in a 4 story pyramid going up to one-its was called top dog.

I do so many fires now I gave them up-I still make one with ever salt fire.Not a believer in sprits but like the idea of a dog watching the fire.

(I'm a cat person really)

Mark

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Good morning everybody! I see that the topic of "Kiln Gods" is still interesting for many of us.

 

Chris: I like your godess!

Marci: that is really some proof that you may not mess with Kiln Gods (and throw them away).

Bciske: thank you for the links to former posts on the same topic. I didn't know that Martie is (was?) a forum member too. I want to quote one of the posts of hers in 2012:

 

 

"Since electric kilns are not as flashy and noisy as smoke spewing and fire belching fuel burning kilns, kiln gods just do not look too cool sitting on them or around them, or under them or where ever you can figure out to place them. I think that the lack of attention given to the gods of electric kilns is shameful and that we need to maybe start a committee to figure out if they should have their own special kind of metal shrine or something that can be placed close to the kiln when it is firing. Does anyone have any ideas? (I like the notion of eclectic electric clerics that john mentioned.)

Cheers, Martie"

 

An for the ones interested in her book, here is the link: http://www.kilnlore.com/publication.html(top left)

You can get the book also as ebook in online bookshops!

 

I think I am hooked. I definitely will read more about Kiln Gods. I hope John will come online and discuss his knowledge of the theme with us! (hint hint)

 

Have all a happy day!

 

Evelyne

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Thanks Evelyne for sharing this wonderful topic.

 

If I could reminiscence ,for me I just learnt to believe in kiln gods.....which turned into practice and faith......

 

I suppose its personal belief that things will turn fine…HOPE…. you have faith,you start believing…..

 

My kiln god is “Lord Ganeshaâ€, He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. In HInduism;he is worshipped, or at least remembered, in the beginning of any auspicious performance for blessings.

 

 

Vinks!

 

Cavy Fire Studios likes this

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I'm with Karen on this one.

 

I don't believe in good luck charms or superstition. I've seen and heard of superstition of different kinds doing terrible harm (abuse of black animals is one example). To me, there is no such thing as harmless superstition.

 

I do everything I can to ensure successful firings. Since, like Guinea, I do a lot of surface decoration, I pretty much don't sleep on glaze firing nights. But every disaster I've had is clearly a mistake on my part or a malfunction of the kiln's electronics.

LeeU and Joseph F like this

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When I turn up the kiln I am a fire breathing, ass kicking kiln god :D

 

There are far too many ways to go with this question as I think the definition of god is personal to everybody. My god/s is whatever 'stuff' the universe is, I am that god and can be part of the kiln gods crew. Rocks, water, heat are all doing their own godly things along with me. Different but exactly the same.

 

I have made an idol or personification of the kiln. It broke and then my kiln went out of action for many months, never made another one. Maybe now it is time.

Rae Reich likes this

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Evoking is powerful. I didn't know about kiln gods , but intentionally , actively participating and willing positive is how I believe much gets done right. Some one to watch over me , very sweet.

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I believe that often legends, traditions, beliefs, are universal. There are similarities in spirit houses in the eastern world, and those in northern European countries.  Small effigies of all sorts have been found for fertility, for harvests, fishing, and other things that life depends on. In the long run it all depends on the need to control the chaos in our lives. So where else if there a greater chance of chaos, especially in the early eras of Ceramics, than in a kiln! I think it was only right and proper that in those days they called on some force greater than themselves to ensure a successful firing. In college, while firing gas kilns, I made kiln gods for on the kiln, out of tradition, not belief. First few years at HS I made a few. Then as years went by and my skills improved, I no longer made the kiln gods. Have never used on at home, even though at times I probably should have!

 

best,

Pres

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I'm the least superstitious person you could find, so no.  No kiln god, no rituals, no sacrifices, no beliefs other than self.  Like Giselle says, if it goes wrong it was my error.  Move on, make another. 

GiselleNo5 likes this

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On the heels of Preston's remarks, the idea of a kiln god can have so many different meanings for different people. Some evoke personal connections to their art that go well beyond a kiln god watching over a firing. Others are simply fun additions to the journey that a pot takes from the earth to the table. A few of our studio members at The Potters School routinely place a kiln god of their making on the lid of the kiln. I've participated in group wood firings where a kiln god was placed on the kiln accompanying a kiln lighting ritual. When I was the guest artist at the Raku Ho'olaule'a in Hawaii in 2000, a Hawaiian prayer was recited to honor and bless the participants, the earth, the materials and the practice of our craft.  The way we honor and practice our craft and the reasons why we are clay artists is always personal and provocative. It is nature of what we do and the lifestyles that we live.

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I don't call it superstition but also before I've put a kiln god on my electric kiln, I did kind of a ritual. I was holding my hands over the kiln and then spreading my arms right and left along the kiln sides and coming back with the hands together at the bottom and murmuring "all the best for the firing" or "good luck" or similar positive thoughts. It helps also to "survive" the time I had to wait until I could finally open the kiln again after 3 days...

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I think it's a fun tradition, but I don't put much stock in it beyond that.

 

It makes for a good story, tomtell the students, and having them make a kiln god, gives them more of a connection to the process. They are doing something that potters have been doing for centuries.

 

But when it comes down to it, the only force that has any impact on my firings, is the idiot hitting the switches.

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I went to check on kiln...

 

I don't know about kiln gods... but I do believe in praying mantis sneaking in my garage on my first production firing and praying for my kiln to be successful while he sits on pots ready to be bisqued the following day... must be good sign! I felt honored and blessed to have this little guy in my garage...

 

super cool! he must have came in my garage while my door was cracked for my vent. 

 

sorry for blurry pictures, I just grabbed my camera phone as quick as I could, then took him outside to be back in nature.

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