Photography: Lea Kaae

The kiln is located in the backyard. The shed that houses it is roofed, but open on two sides, and plenty of logs are stacked in the woodpiles, keeping dry and ready under the roof.
Using a wood-burning kiln is a choice that requires work and attention, but it also gives a very hands-on feel for the unfinished objects that go into it and the fully-fledged beauties that come out afterwards.

A day’s work involves splitting logs with an axe – shaft in hands and a muscled hew. Thwack! Chopped logs land on the ground.

It may seem a far cry from the delicate and refined operations by the pottery wheels inside the workshop, but this is just as much part of the process – the kiln is the igneous heart of the whole affair and it eats the logs right out of your hands.

From the slender chimney reaching through the roof of the kiln-shed smoke rises against the sky.
Controlling the heat in a wood-burning kiln involves skill and you have to be there to regulate the temperature in a very manual way – feeding logs into the fiery mouth.

As daylight wanes the opening in the kiln becomes visible as a glowing, crimson-
coloured eye watching into the night.

When it’s closed, you see the narrow gaps
between the bricks like fired adders wriggling in the corners of the kiln-mouth. Little
cracks of light escaping from the sweltering, golden-bellied smithy. And still you have
to wait.