I spent the fall of 2008 collaborating on the design and construction of an anagama style wood-fire kiln. Wood-fire pottery was my first love with clay – revealing a new palette of warm tones and textures and yet seeming so ancient, almost timeless. After being introduced to wood-firing more than ten years ago, I am thrilled now to include this kiln in my process. The kiln’s original design is based upon traditional Japanese and contemporary North American models, with structural decisions made to anticipate certain results. I use clays and glazes formulated to be more responsive to fly ash and vapors in the kiln’s atmosphere. Even with great attention paid to the forms, the type of clay used and the kiln’s design, I must accept the uninhibited and unconscious decoration that this process yields. A wood-firing delivers unique pots; like us, no two are alike. Like a rock in rapids, each pot has its own interaction with the passing flame. That river of fire animates the pot’s surface with natural ash glazes and warm tones from iron blushing out of the clay. An honest story is recorded; from the maker’s marks made while forming the clay to the fire’s journey through the kiln, nothing is concealed. A romantic ideal underscores the whole wood-firing process; like alchemy, the true gems materialize by some formula of hard work, creative awareness and a touch of magic.