In Japan, before each firing, many ceramists do a small Shinto ceremony for a successful firing. I have decided to continue this tradition - something I also did over the years living there. I placed a pile of salt, rice, a bottle of sake, a sprig of a green representing a Japanese plant called "Sagaki", (meaning tree of the Gods), as well as a clay kiln God. After placing these over the kiln, (where they will stay the duration of the firing, and be replaced with each firing), Tom Turner, a friend, Jacob Lions, and myself each took a small amount of salt, and threw it over the kiln, chimney and burners for purifying.
I'm not a religious person, but I do believe in ceremony. I enjoy it and also feel its significance. In this case, I actually couldn't imagine firing my kiln without doing this.
The photo hanging to the left is in honor of a friend of mine, John Ward, who was key in helping make this kiln possible. Although he's no longer here in body, I'm certain he's here in spirit. Thank you, John!