Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Kiln Update

AKA: Potters who aren’t named Harry

It’s been nearly three months since my husband, Joe, and I went to the kiln roof-raising at my Asheville Potter son's place, where Joe joined the work crew and I cooked for them. Joe’s been back to help a second time. So has our friend Karl, who snapped this photo of the results of the roof raising, which I documented by way of videos on Youtube HERE. The material for the roof came from the old house on the property that my son, Josh, tore down and salvaged for parts.

Lots of back-to-back work days, hard labor, and sacrifice have gone into building this kiln. Josh worked from morning to night for weeks at a time. Friends and fellow potters (like Matt Jacobs pictured here) came out to lend their bodies and hands.

Josh (pictured here) and other potters at the ClaySpace Coop in Asheville (founded by Josh in 2003 along with fellow members Matt Jacobs and Sean Fairbridge) are making new pots to be the first fired in the new kiln, which is called The Community Temple. It’s a wood burning, three chamber climbing kiln that is 27 feet long, with a stacking space of 260 cubic feet. Check it out and click around on the new ClaySpace webpage HERE. Josh still plans to put together a personal website when construction slows down.

Before the roof went up, the kiln site looked like a Mayan ruin with a tarp hung over it, or an archeological dig. Later it began to take on a mythological look, reminiscent of the building of a megalithic stone structure or ancient pyramid.

A kiln always remind me of the oven that Hansel and Gretel pushed the witch into, and woodfiring is like a "Where the Wild Things Are" fairytale that involves staying up all night and fire alchemy.

The irony that bricks are made of fired clay and that a kiln is a construction for firing clay that is built largely of bricks is not lost on me.

Soon Joe and I will be traveling back to Josh’s place in Madison County, NC, to dedicate the kiln for its first woodfiring. I imagine in this case the dedication will involve the smashing of a bottle of a beer, rather than the traditional champagne against the brick structure, because although Josh currently lives in an Airstream trailer called The Land Yacht, he’s more of a Pabst Blue Ribbon man than a champagne one.

~ Originally posted on on August 25, 2007.

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