Sometimes on weekends my Asheville potter son Josh buses tables at a restaurant named Table. As a working artist with school loans, he's learned to make a living in a variety of ways and has become what I call a "Josh of all trades."
In one recent week he transported a load of brick seconds 400 miles on Monday, was hired by a friend to haul sod around in a trailer on Tuesday, did a pottery demonstration and a slide show lecture at Haywood Tech (one of the places he went to school) on Wednesday, volunteered his time teaching 3 classes at the Madison County Middle School on Thursday, made pottery and manned the gallery at the Clayspace Coop he founded on Friday, and bused tables at the Table for Valentine's Day (one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants) on Saturday.
A few days later he called from the road while making his sixth trip home from the brick plant down south where he's been hauling seconds to his Madison County property. He fired off these stats: 6 trips, 4 pallets a trip, and 400 miles each way.
Bricks are made in kilns made of bricks. As a potter who wood fires in kilns made of bricks Josh values and uses a lot of them. He's handmade his own on occasion but these plant seconds are firebricks in a quantity that Josh could never hand produce. After six trips back and forth to the plant, he now has enough (and then some) to build two new kilns on his Community temple compound to compliment the 3 chamber Noborigama kiln. Why so many kilns?
Every type of kiln creates a different product, Josh says, and a smaller one is needed for smaller firings. Josh and one his Clayspace mates are planning to build two different shaped single chamber kilns this summer and teach an immersion kiln building workshop as they do. Eight students will be chosen by letters of intent and informal interview. There will be a nominal fee for lodging, but the workshop will be free, Josh said, adding, "I want people like me five years ago to come to this workshop."
"What an opportunity. I bet you wish you came across something like that when you were starting out," I said.
"I did. That's why I'm doing it," he answered.
Post notes: Read "He Gets a Kick out of Bricks" for background to this post. Photos above are of Josh at the Brick Plant and him building a treadle wheel. Read more about the summer kiln building workshop, dubbed The Carolina Kiln Build HERE.
~ Originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on March 4, 2009.