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4911 Busbee Rd.
Seagrove, NC 27341
USA

Studio Touya is a handmade pottery studio located in Seagrove NC where Hitomi and Takuro Shibata set up studio and built Japanese style wood kiln. Our focus is to make simple& functional pottery by using local wild clay and wood firing technique. We named our pottery as "Touya" when we started our small pottery studio in Shigaraki, Japan, and it literary means "pottery house" in Japanese which we really like.

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Wood firing, Feb 2016

Hitomi Shibata

Normally February is a month we stay home, work on paper, website and making plan for spring because our studio get too cold to making pots, but sometimes, we have to do.

This year, we started making large jars in mid January. On cold nights, we burned lots of fire wood in the wood stove, and wrapped our pots by bubble wraps, blankets and thick plastics to keep away from freeze. In this way, pots are spoiled and get dry slowly. 

Also, fire wood matter is very important for winter wood firing. It takes long time to dry in winter season, so that we purchased oak and pine strips in new year and started cutting & stacking under the shed day by day in whole January. Even so, fired woods are not dry enough. 

When we got ice storm in the middle of Feb, we started glazing pots and loading kiln. I have never had such an experience that glazes, wadding and kiln wash froze very quickly so we had to warm them up time after time. Our fingers lost sense by ice then we had to do same thing for our hands, too. Just wonder how potters in cold climate deal with cold weather. 

Firing this time took longer than usual because fire woods were not dry enough. Oak wood didn't want to burn fast. We ended up to spend 6 hours of gas preheating then 38 hours wood firing. It was almost two times longer than the fastest wood firing we had in the past. 

Another new experience, we tried to cool down kiln faster than normal. We finished firing on Wednesday afternoon, and unloaded kiln on Friday morning. Result was interesting. Had good reduction, lots of ash on our pottery, and lots of nice clay tests.