Wood-firing in the 20th century, from Rediscovery in Japan to Going Global Wabi-cha and the perception of beauty in woodfired ceramics.

My dissertation (2/3) looks at the development of an aesthetic of wood-fired ceramics based on firing for three or four days minimum, in which wood ash landing on pots creates a natural glazed surface (what Jack Troy would describe as "kiln glazed ceramics") and the role that the aesthetic of wabi played in this development. In my practical component (1/3) I am trying to develop a greater understanding of what wabi might mean for a contemporary wood-fire potter.

The presentation will begin with a summary of the awareness of wood-fired ceramics at the beginning of the 20th century, and then looking at the impact of the Mingei movement and the Momoyama revival of the 1930s, and move through to the impact Japanese influences on Peter Voulkos and his impact on contemporary ceramics in the 1950s. I will then look briefly at the development of the contemporary wood-fire movement and the spread of the wabi influenced aesthetic in the US beginning in the 1970s.

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