The kiln was our language and we all came to speak it fluently. ~ Josh Copus
Recently when talking on the phone to my Asheville potter son Josh, he spoke enthusiastically about watching blades of new grass grow. I thought it was a reference to his stopping to take time to smell the roses and was glad that his workload was lightening.
A week later I spoke with him again and began our conversation by joking, ‘how’s that grass?’ He answered in all seriousness about how well it was doing. The next day I read an update about work at his Marshall County property, home of the three-tiered Community Temple woodfire kiln that Josh built:
Combining the heavy machinery with ingenuity, grit, and pure determination, I was able complete my goal of being able to plant some grass by this spring. It’s springtime now and the grass is growing.
For four years I’ve been blogging about everything from Josh’s wild clay dig, His BFA Building Community show, the building of the Community Temple, and his gorilla suit escapades – with blog titles like Josh of All Trades, He Gets a Kick out of Bricks, Clayspace Potters Strike it Rich and The First Annual Pot Party.
Now he’s the blogger, writing firsthand in preparation for the Carolina Kiln Build to be held on his property in August. The blog will be a collective one, documenting a three week kiln building workshop, in which eight potters will be selected to live on site and immerse themselves in kiln building in a rural mountain setting. It’s modeled after a similar type of extended workshop that Josh attended at the Hurricane Mountain Center for Earth Arts in Keene, New York, one that shaped his life as a potter.
He writes about his hopes for the Carolina Kiln Build: The idea of working closely with other artists, fully immersing yourself in the project, eating and drinking together, swimming in rivers, creating lasting memories and funny stories for years to come is what this thing is about.
There’s more than grass growing on the property.
Along with fellow Clayspace (the potter’s coop that Josh founded) member Eric Knoche, Josh will be heading up the construction of two Anagama type wood-burning kilns. One will be a large simple tube, built with a flat floor to accommodate firing larger work and the other will be an egg shape climbing Anagama buried in a hillside, the CKB press release says.
Josh writes on the blog: Eric and I both learned how to build kilns by actually building kilns and we believe that there is really no substitute the type of education that occurs when you are working with bricks and mortar … We saw this as opportunity to build momentum and add energy to the work we have already begun. We wanted to form new friendships and continue contributing to the ceramics community. Those were just some of the ideas behind the Carolina Kiln Build.
May the ceramics community and studio potter model continue to grow strong, like the new grass on Josh’s property.
Post notes: Check out the introductions and participant details on the Carolina Kiln Build blog HERE. The above was originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on May 5, 2009.