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Chinese kiln gods and studio potters


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#21 Wind n Wing

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:21 AM


Guess I am uneducated because I have never heard of Kiln Gods before. Is this some type of inanimate object that is burned in the kiln? I know different cultures have rituals for all sorts of things but this is new to me.

RJ



The notion of kiln gods in the USA is a sort of playful idea that a kiln's fickle temperment (this is especially true for old up, or downdraft kilns) can be tamed or turned in favor of the ceramists needs if clay figures or creatures are placed on the roof or door arch area of the kiln.

Potter's in China do not make figures for individual kilns, however, ceramic producing regions or cities all have their own kiln dieties that form part of the pantheon of gods that make-up that area's folk religion or popular religion beliefs.


Thank you for the information. My education has been updated or backdated considering how long this practice has been going on.

RJ

#22 AndyL

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:41 AM

Yes, I've made kiln Gods when we fired at Brookdale Community College's Gas Kiln. Here I just named my electric kiln Mrs Potts. Does that count for a home kiln?
Attached File  Marijas Europa.jpg   40.24KB   24 downloads

#23 GEP

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 11:57 AM

My electric kiln is named Dr. Evil. When I was transitioning from an 18" two-section kiln, to a 23" three-section kiln, I had both kilns in my studio for about a week. During that time they were named Dr. Evil and Mini Me.

I've never made kiln gods for Dr. Evil, but every time I unload a successful glaze firing, I quickly bow to the kiln and say "thank you" just to ackowledge there are forces present other than electricity.

Mea
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#24 ayjay

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 04:43 AM

I didn't have a Kiln god, I have a couple of items that could have been pressed into service as kiln gods but I felt a purpose made item may have been more respectful to the philosophy of any such deities and decided I really ought to make one.

So, I had a glaze test fire to do yesterday and there was one item of greenware on my shelf which had been sat there for a couple months, (there had been no room for it in my last couple of bisque firings) which could serve as a kiln god, it was coloured with slips and so a single firing was deemed to be all it needed - my first suspicions were correct - the deities needed more respect - said items head exploded in kiln showering my test piece with bits - this is the first item of mine which has ever exploded.

I may abandon the idea of Kiln Gods, I was doing OK without them. :unsure:

#25 olisny

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 07:37 PM

I have an electric kiln; the first thing I did after plugging it in was make a kiln god to watch over it. He sits on a shelf on the wall right behind the kiln. Thus far, all firings have gone well on his watch! (Though I just now realized he doesn't have eyes...) :blink:

#26 SmartsyArtsy

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:43 PM

Oh, I have a fierce goddess sitting above my kiln.

#27 Benzine

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 09:00 AM

I was thinking of making a kiln god for new Raku kiln. However, I made the ceramic buttons, look like faces, so technically, I have a couple dozen kiln gods looking in. Each one is a little different, so I essentially have pantheon of gods......Let's hope none of them is wrathful.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#28 kilnpriestess

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:44 AM

I was thinking of making a kiln god for new Raku kiln. However, I made the ceramic buttons, look like faces, so technically, I have a couple dozen kiln gods looking in. Each one is a little different, so I essentially have pantheon of gods......Let's hope none of them is wrathful.


It sounds as though you have already personalized your kiln with your embellishments. With all of your attention to detail I am sure that you will have the best of luck.

#29 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:49 AM

When I was doing research in Spain, several kilns had been blessed by the local priest. I assume this may serve the same purpose as Kiln Gods in other religions or cultures.
Marcia

#30 kilnpriestess

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:49 AM

I didn't have a Kiln god, I have a couple of items that could have been pressed into service as kiln gods but I felt a purpose made item may have been more respectful to the philosophy of any such deities and decided I really ought to make one.

So, I had a glaze test fire to do yesterday and there was one item of greenware on my shelf which had been sat there for a couple months, (there had been no room for it in my last couple of bisque firings) which could serve as a kiln god, it was coloured with slips and so a single firing was deemed to be all it needed - my first suspicions were correct - the deities needed more respect - said items head exploded in kiln showering my test piece with bits - this is the first item of mine which has ever exploded.

I may abandon the idea of Kiln Gods, I was doing OK without them. :unsure:



Hmmmmmmmmmmm, exploding heads. Maybe you just need a special talisman made out of clay with some of the exploded bits wedged into it. Sometimes you have to redistribute the power and tone it down a bit.

#31 kilnpriestess

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:55 AM

Yes, I've made kiln Gods when we fired at Brookdale Community College's Gas Kiln. Here I just named my electric kiln Mrs Potts. Does that count for a home kiln?
Attached File  Marijas Europa.jpg   40.24KB   24 downloads


I am sure that a loved home kiln attracts good kiln spirits just like a loving home attracts sweet stray cats.

#32 kilnpriestess

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:56 AM

I have an electric kiln; the first thing I did after plugging it in was make a kiln god to watch over it. He sits on a shelf on the wall right behind the kiln. Thus far, all firings have gone well on his watch! (Though I just now realized he doesn't have eyes...) :blink:



Since your kiln god has heart, it seems that it does not need eyes.

#33 kilnpriestess

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:03 AM

When I was doing research in Spain, several kilns had been blessed by the local priest. I assume this may serve the same purpose as Kiln Gods in other religions or cultures.
Marcia



Hi Marcia,

Maybe since kilns resemble caves and other types of places where spirits might be percieved to inhabit that the priest had to bless the space? Maybe the priest blesses all types of structures.

In China individual kilns are not blessed, but the deity that presides over them is rewarded if things go well.

#34 kilnpriestess

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:05 AM

Oh, I have a fierce goddess sitting above my kiln.



And I bet that you have a good relationship with her because you respect her awsome powers.

#35 kilnpriestess

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:08 AM

My electric kiln is named Dr. Evil. When I was transitioning from an 18" two-section kiln, to a 23" three-section kiln, I had both kilns in my studio for about a week. During that time they were named Dr. Evil and Mini Me.

I've never made kiln gods for Dr. Evil, but every time I unload a successful glaze firing, I quickly bow to the kiln and say "thank you" just to ackowledge there are forces present other than electricity.

Mea


Perfect. Good deeds and happy endings should always be rewarded. You know how to make your kiln spirits feel appreciated.

#36 justanassembler

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:52 AM

I have a deer skull above the firebox of the train kiln I built a couple years ago--I dont think it helps the firing any, but it sure looks cool with all that carbon on it.

#37 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 10:14 AM


When I was doing research in Spain, several kilns had been blessed by the local priest. I assume this may serve the same purpose as Kiln Gods in other religions or cultures.
Marcia



Hi Marcia,

Maybe since kilns resemble caves and other types of places where spirits might be percieved to inhabit that the priest had to bless the space? Maybe the priest blesses all types of structures.

In China individual kilns are not blessed, but the deity that presides over them is rewarded if things go well.

In the village where I lived my friend restored the chapel of the Patron Saints of Pottery who happened to be two sisters, Justa and Rufina. They are also Patron Saints of Triana, the Barrio in Sevilla where majolica is made.
Marcia

#38 Benzine

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:03 PM


I was thinking of making a kiln god for new Raku kiln. However, I made the ceramic buttons, look like faces, so technically, I have a couple dozen kiln gods looking in. Each one is a little different, so I essentially have pantheon of gods......Let's hope none of them is wrathful.


It sounds as though you have already personalized your kiln with your embellishments. With all of your attention to detail I am sure that you will have the best of luck.


I was hoping to have each of my Art Club member, with whom I am doing the firing, make at least one button, but there just wasn't the time. But I did have a couple make a few with me. They put a lot of time and attention into theirs. I mass produced mine, so they have less personality........Just like me.....
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#39 kilnpriestess

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 04:50 AM



When I was doing research in Spain, several kilns had been blessed by the local priest. I assume this may serve the same purpose as Kiln Gods in other religions or cultures.
Marcia



Hi Marcia,

Maybe since kilns resemble caves and other types of places where spirits might be percieved to inhabit that the priest had to bless the space? Maybe the priest blesses all types of structures.

In China individual kilns are not blessed, but the deity that presides over them is rewarded if things go well.

In the village where I lived my friend restored the chapel of the Patron Saints of Pottery who happened to be two sisters, Justa and Rufina. They are also Patron Saints of Triana, the Barrio in Sevilla where majolica is made.
Marcia


Just thinking about the Patron Saints of Pottery Chapel makes me want to go on a pilgrimage to Sevilla.
The whole restoration process and the tale of the saints sounds like a story that should be told. Marcia, you should write an article about this wonderful place.

#40 kilnpriestess

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 04:57 AM

I have a deer skull above the firebox of the train kiln I built a couple years ago--I dont think it helps the firing any, but it sure looks cool with all that carbon on it.


Your skull sounds impressive. Even if you show your kiln to someone who might not understand exactly what it does, they should at least be impressed by how it looks as a starting point to understanding what it might do.




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