Japanese ceramics was originally quite simple in its approach - it had the high firing stoneware as in China and Korea, but not the complexity of glazes, which produced quite a different aesthetic. At its purist, this is embodied by pottery from Bizen, Echizen, Iga and Shagiraki, where the clay is not adorned with glaze or slip. A thin glaze-like layer is formed on the surface by the action of the flames and by ash carried through the kiln Variations in colour and texture are then created according to the temperature of that part of the kiln, the degree of oxidation or reduction, the amount of exposure to flames, and the amount of wood ash falling on the piece.
The Oxford Anagama Project have built two Anagama kilns based on those at Bizen, and these are fired a couple of times a year, with potters able to have their works fired as well as help with the firing. This takes about a week to get it up to temperature, feeding it with wood 24 hours a day, and then another few days for it to cool down before the kiln is opened.
I have a couple of pieces from the last firing in May 2016 (sorry, no photos yet), and there will be more from the next firing, scheduled for November.
All these pieces are food, dishwasher and microwave safe.