Thanks to the hard work of Clemson Professor Mike Vatalaro we now have the only anagama kiln located in the state of South Carolina. Anagamas are a traditional Japanese styled kiln, usually tunnel shaped, in fact the word anagama means tunnel. Reaching temperatures close to 2400 degrees, this 28 foot long kiln is fueled by wood and may fire for as long as 30 hours.
When the word goes out that its time to load and fire, clay workers from all over the area start assembling. Teams of people take turns "kiln sitting" - stoking the firebox around the clock, as the temperature slowly climbs. During its final hours of firing, the stoking may happen every 2-3 minutes as huge waves of flames carry wood ash throughout the kiln, depositing it on the pots and mixing it with the molten glazes. The results can be spectacular, and are always unpredictable and totally unique. The "Vatagama" is located out near the Clemson airport and community firings take place twice a year.