If the technique of throwing gives a porcelain vessel its body, and painting imbues it with a sense of "spirit," then firing gives the material a new lease of life. Once the vessel is glazed, firing is the final act and the most important step in the production process. The success or failure of all the previous steps hinge on the expertise of the craftsmen supervising the kiln. Guided by years of experience, they know just when to add the wood, and in exactly what quantities. Whether the porcelain breaks, or a beautiful piece of blue-and-white ceramic is created, all depends on this crucial piece of the puzzle.